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Ube Continents ot tbe MoclO 











M.A., F.R.G.S; 






In this series an attempt is made to treat the Continents of the 
World from a double point of view. From the one^ emphasis is laid 
only on what seems to be the essential individuality of the particular 
continent^ e.g. the peninsular character and influence of Europe ; and 
areas which seem to be not quite typical^ e.g. the British Isles and 
Russia^ are treated in outline or with detail on such points only as 
have direct relation to that individuality. For similar reasons the 
countries of the core — Germany^ Austria-Hungary^ and Switzerland 
— are not treated in quite the same way as those of the circumference. 

From the other point of view, in treating the typical political 
units, considerable attention is given to their political subdivisions, e.g. 
the Roman provinces of France or the modern Swiss cantons, especially 
when these illustrate principles or processes that are characteristic 
of the continent. Much emphasis is laid on the political unit, because 
I find it just as difficult to picture clearly the precise limits of a 
natural region — in Professor Herbertson*s sense — as I find it easy 
to picture the delimited frontier of a civilised State. It is almost 
always the political control that gives the dominant note in the most 
important areas ; and, as the method of treating such areas should 
in each case, as far as possible, be appropriate to the dominant note, 
the political unit cannot be made subordinate without more being lost 
than is gained. 

Besides, to most of us Geography seems to have neither mean- 
ing nor value apart from Man; and so we usually think in political 
units as far as human activities are concerned. For the name of a 
political unit, e.g. France or "Japan, is far more than a mere label of 
an atom of artificially partitioned land ; it contains a whole world of 
suggestion and association, and is an epitome of all that makes a 
nation — of things achieved, — of a type in art and literature, in science 
and politics, — of an ideal, the passionate desire to preserve and 
perpetuate which is the only thing deserving the name of patriotism. 

vi The Continent of Europe 

/ have attempted^ too^ to carry out an old conviction that 
geographic details are illuminating only when viewed as instances 
of world-processes^ and that therefore the geography of any large unit 
should be approached through its world-relations. In this connection 
I think that nothing else possesses a tithe of the helpfulness inherent 
in the theory of the tetrahedral deformation of the Earth. The fact 
that some competent mathematicians believe that it has no sound 
physics or dynamics at the hack of it, and assert that it has been 
wholly unfruitful in results, seems to me of less importance than its 
acceptance by so many great geologists, and its proved utility to 
geographers who approach their subject as essentially a human science. 

After assuming four previous stages in the life of the Earth — a 
consolidation of meteorites into a globular unit, the separation of 
mineral crust from metallic core, the condensation of vapour ever that 
crust, and the buckling of it into positive and negative land-forms — 
we have still to account for the distribution of these forms having taken 
a definite character. The essential details that have to be accounted 
for, form a sequence of what Professor J. JV. Gregory calls ^^four 
homologies " .* the predominance of land in the Northern Hemisphere 
and sea in the Southern Hemisphere — the triangular shape of the 
great physical units, whether land or sea — the alternation of aspect, 
land tapering southwards and sea tapering northwards, resulting in 
a nearly complete ring of land round the north and an absolutely 
complete ring of water round the south — and so the antipodal position 
of land and water. 

Any theory which attempts to account for these facts of distribu- 
tion, has to deal with an Earth exhibiting the suggestion of four 
triangular faces which meet in six edges and project in four coigns ; 
and such a distribution is essentially tetrahedral. Every spherical 
body which shrinks owing to contraction of its core, tends to become 
tetrahedral, for a sphere combines minimum surface with maximum 
volume, while a tetrahedron combines maximum surface with minimum 
volume ; and collapse at one point must react at the antipodal point. 
But no body with a structure like that of the Earth could become a 
complete tetrahedron while rotating at a speed similar to that of the 
Earth. On the contrary, it must pass through alternate stages of 
collapse towards the tetrahedral, emphasising vertical lines in periods 
of violent disturbance, and of recovery towards the spherical, emphasis- 
ing horizontal lines in periods of relative quiet. 

In the case of the Earth, as long as the crust was thin, any 

Preface vii 

shrinkage of core could only wrinkle the whole surface into forms that 
must always have been relatively " old " ; but^ as the crust thickened^ 
active movement would be confined more or less to lines of weakness^ 
which would be crumpled into forms that we may still call ^^ young " 
And all the time^ though the relative positions of land and water 
might change^ the water held on the EartK s surface by attraction 
must always have collected where areas of crustal settlement decreased 
the distance from the centre of the mass. That is to, say^ many of 
the phenomena that have affected Man most — from the influence of 
the Himalayan uplift on the development of turfforming grasses^ not 
suited to huge mammals^ to the concentration of volcanic activity at 
angular joints of great segments of the Earth's crust — have light 
thrown on them by this tetrahedral theory. They thus become simply 
examples of a law instead of isolated items that burden the memory. 

Apart from any theory^ too., it is in practice the painful and 
almost daily experience of glass-blowers that glass balls^ when almost 
perfect^ collapse into forms which definitely reproduce the relations of 
positive and negative land-forms on the face of the Earth ; and the 
process is known in the trade as '' tetrahedral collapse." 

I have, therefore, adopted the theory as a working hypothesis. 


My use of the word wyr, perhaps, needs some explanation. A 
large part of the volume was originally used in four courses of lectures 
which were attended by a considerable number of practical teachers 
— some 1200 in all ; and this modified my choice of both material 
and method. For I took advantage of the opportunity to urge that 
Geography, when studied as a synthetic and human science, is the 
most valuable of all educational agents except Literature ; but that, 
when it is studied as an ultra-analytical and non-human — almost an 
inhuman — science, both its attractiveness and its educational value 
are minimised. Indeed, public support, which is still much needed 
for the subject, is only alienated by a vainglorious splitting of ultra- 
analytical straws. 

But it happens that most of the persons who have been most 
active in this direction, have neither actual experience of teaching 
nor the teacher s regard for the right use of words ; and they have 
been active also in support of a reckless nomenclature. Tet, if the 
Mother-Tongue and her Literature must always have the first place 
in true education, no other subject — not even if it can claim the second 

viii The Continent of Europe 

place — may misuse that Mother- Tongue. For instance^ to claim the 
exclusive use of such adjectives as high and \ow /or any one of the 
several sciences in which they have a very special meaning^ is an 
obvious impertinence ; and to claim further the right to use them as 
nouns^ and to speak of a high and a low, is a gross prostitution of 
the English language which no body of English teachers will sanction. 
One's willing admission that anti-cyclone is awkward does not 
lessen the offence ; nor does there seem to be an excuse for it, at all 
events in Geography. 

We have had in our language for the last 600 years the word 
wyr. It was originally applied — e.g. by Robert Bruce and King 
Edward I. — to an instrument used in the defence of a city-wall. 
This machine^ heavily weighted^ moved downwards and outwards in 
a circle ; and on the outskirts of its circuit it mighty and often did^ 
cause considerable disturbance. 

Again^ whirl is more English than cyclone ; and wind-whirl 
has the great advantage of suggesting — to young pupils — ^^ whirl- 
wind.^^ As these words in their full meaning cover all important 
^^ anti-cyclonic''^ and ''^cyclonic'" phenomena^ I have used them now for 
some years in lecturing ; and I have retained them in this hook^ 
especially in the more general portion. I may add that even pupils 
who are already familiar with cyclone and anti-cyclone, seem not 
only to have no kind of difficulty in adopting the suggested alterna- 
tives^ hut even to get from them an easier familiarity with the 
phenomena themselves. 


I am grateful to Messrs. A. 6^ C. Black for their courtesy in 
allowing me in several cases to adapt material from my School 
Text-Book of Geography^ and to Dr. Scott Keltic and Professor 
R. A. Gregory for kind and valuable criticisms on manuscript or proof 

I think that the names of all those to whotn I am conscious of debt 
will be found mentioned in the text or in footnotes ; but there must be 
many others to whom I am indebted without being conscious of it. 

For most of the diagrams I am indebted to Dr. H. R. Mi IPs 
"International Geography" and to Mr. T. Alford Smith's "A 
Geography of Europe." 

L. W. LYDE. 

University College, 




World-Relations ...... i 

Regional Relations ..... 6 

Marginal and Midland Seas . . . .14 

Relief ....... 22 

Relief Control, (i) Of Land Communications . 39 


Relief Control. (2) Of Distribution of Population . 45 


Climate . . . . . . .51 

X The Continent of Europe 



Climatic Control, (i) Of River RteiME . . 6i 

Climatic Control. (2) Of Vegetation . . .69 

Climatic Control. (3) Of Beast and Man . . 76 

The Italian Peninsula . . . .82 

The Scandinavian Peninsula . . . .105 

The Balkan Peninsula . . . . .124 

The Iberian Peninsula . . . , .160 

France ....... 191 

British Isles . . . . , .221 



























Baltic (contains inset of Denmark) 



Scandinavia and the 

The Balkan States 

Spain and Portugal 


British Isles . 

Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxemburg 

German Empire 


Switzerland . 



General plan of wind-system 

Columbus' first voyage 

Distribution (in hours) of bright sunshine . 

Floor of Atlantic, showing feature-lines 

North Sea and English Channel tides 

Relation of oceanic depths to continental shelf 

General relief features 

Water-parting of Pennine Alps 

Swiss tunnels 

Swiss river-system . 

Typical piece of Jura 

Distribution of relief 

Simple relief of France 

Kiel and Hanover Canals . 

Europe — density of population 

Racial Europe 

Currents of North Atlantic . 


. xvi and i 

. 96 

.. 97 

. 112 

„ 113 

. 128 

„ 129 

. 160 

„ 161 

. 192 

„ 193 

. 224 

), 225 

. 256 

,. 257 

. 288 

„ 289 

. 352 

.. 353 

• 384 

,, 385 

. 416 

„ 417 




















The Continent of Europe 

Atlantic storm tracks 

European temperatures 

Rainfall of Europe . 

North-eastern France 

Relations of Rhine, Rhone, and Danube 

Iron gates on Danube 

Contour map of Russia 

Existing glaciers and ancient ice sheet in Europe 

Russian belts of vegetation 

Geometrical centre of Europe 

Mediterranean area . 

Po and Piave basins 

Tectonic map of Italy 

Malarial districts of Italy 

Rainfall and temperature of Turin and Naples 

Venice : the islands, canals, and lagoon 

The Quadrilateral .... 

Portion of the coast of Norway 

Viking raiding-routes 

Site of Christiania .... 

Site of Stockholm .... 

Annual rainfall map of the Baltic region 

The Bosphorus .... 

Isthmus of Corinth ship-canal 

The Golden Horn .... 

Orographic structure of the Balkan Peninsula 

Dalmatian coast .... 

Shrinking of Turkey in Europe 

Mouths of the Danube 

Lower Danube .... 

Kazan or Klisura Canal, near Orsova 

Site of Belgrade .... 

Existing and proposed railways (Balkan) 

Athens and Piraeus .... 

Lower Tagus, showing the Mar da Palha . 

Physical structure of the Iberian Peninsula . 

Temperature and rainfall of Coimbra and Madrid 

Harbour of San Sebastian . 

Strait of Gibraltar .... 

Structure of France .... 

Peripheral distribution of French towns 

Annual rainfall of France and Spain 

Rainfall and temperature of Paris and Marseilles 

Distribution of the vine in France . 












Railways of France . 

Natural divisions of England 

Midland valley of Scotland . 

Structural map of the London basin 

Seasonal isotherms (British) . 

Winter gulf of warmth in North Atlantic 

London .... 

Structural map of the Hampshire basin 

Map of Bristol and the lower Avon . 

South Wales coal-field 

The Tyne and Wear ports . 

Ship-canal. Mersey estuary as far as the " Bottle Inch" 

Annual rainfall of the British Isles . 

Isthmian Canal routes (British) 

Land area round Scheldt estuary before 1 2th century 

Land area round Scheldt estuary at present day 

Antwerp and its forts 

Relief of Holland . 

Railway and steamer routes in Denmark 

Rivers of the North German plain . 

Kiel or Kaiser Wilhelm Canal 

Natural divisions of Germany 

Temperature and rainfall of Hamburg and Berlin 

Site of Hamburg 

Agricultural map of Germany 

Surroundings of Berlin 

Ruhr coal-field 

Bonn-Bingen Gorge 

Industrial area of Saxony and Silesia 

Rainfall and temperature of Vienna and Trieste 

Austria- Hungary — density of population 

Austria- Hungary, showing countries and provinces 

Relations of Austria proper to Bohemia and Moravia 

The Karst .... 

Longitudinal routes of the Tauern . 

Main surface features of Switzerland 

St. Gothard tunnel . 

Religions of Switzerland 

Languages of Switzerland . 

Site of St. Petersburg 

European Russia — density of population 

Rainfall and temperature of Moscow and Sebastopol 

Central Russia, showing the area of over 6cx3 feet elevation 

Railways of European Russia . . , . 












Lydc's Continent of Europe. 


Page 37, for " Creuzot " read " Creusot." 

Page 263, 2nd line from bottom, for " affected " read " effected." 

Page 286, for " Warte " read " Warthe." 

Pages 309, 320, 321, for "Liineberg" read " Liineburg. 

Page 404, for "Volklof" read "Volkhof" 

Highlands aver 3,0O0Teet 

„ ifvnvl200-3aOO . 
Uplartds - 600 1200 .. 
lowlands . O- 600 .. 

Land belayv Sen-leveL 
Sea O-600Feet (lOOTathoms) 
„■ helow 600 Feet 


Scale l:25.00ftOOO 

400]mles linch) 


lOO 20O 300 40O &00 

15 East iron 



ao 35 40 



TO 75 


-OisC -<^ 

AjV/ ^ 






a . > 




\ 1'^ 
















Tt'eenwich^ 25 

CO.. LTD. 





George- jftutip i San^.L'f 



If the educational value and the economic utility of Geography, as 
a " human " science, are alike concerned with the making of mental 
pictures, perspective becomes at once an all-important considera- 
tion ; and, if the physique and the climate of the great continental 
units may — on a working hypothesis — be intimately related to the 
process by which a cooling sphere is deformed towards the shape 
of a tetrahedron, the first step towards linear perspective is through 
a survey of World-relations. 

The World-relations of Europe are both physical and climatic. Physical 
As soon as the secular cooling of the Earth began to modify its Relation. 
essential spherical characteristic of maximum contents with minimum 
surface, causes outside the practical concern of Man decided that 
the horizontal " triangle " of the tetrahedron should lie in what we 
now call the Northern Hemisphere This involved a wide extension 
of land -surface into high latitudes and a marked tendency to 
uplift along the edges of the horizontal "triangle," such uplift in 
the particular geometrical form being necessarily about two-thirds 
of the distance from the common apex of the three perpendicular 
"triangles" to the opposite pole of the original sphere. It was 
fundamental, therefore, that the mass of the land in the Northern 
Hemisphere should have a marked east -and -west lie, — that its 
specific expansion should be poleward, — and that its most marked 
tendency to uplift should be fully 120° from the South Pole — 
actually between 37° and 45° N. 

As the process of deformation matured, the sag in the centre of Sequence 
each " triangle " and the uplift of the edges became emphasised ; ©^ Form*, 
and we infer a natural sequence, the oldest folds of surplus crust 
merging generally in areas of lower elevation towards the sag and 
in lines of higher elevation towards the edge. So our World-relation 
involves, in the case of Europe, a belt of old folded highland 
merging northward in a vast area of lowland and skirted southward 
by a line of Young Folded Mountains. 

1? I B 

The Continent of Europe 




The inevitable reaction from this process of maximum uplift 
further involves a complementary line of maximum depression — on 
the side away from the older folds and more or less parallel with 
the crest of the uplift. This prepares us for a considerable area 
of inland sea stretching east-and-west, probably broken into sections 
by old crustal blocks, such as form the core of the Iberian peninsula 
and the islands of Corsica and Sardinia ; and round the margin of 
the intervening sections of sea, on the side away from the uplift, 
we expect the pressure of the foundered blocks to excite volcanic 
and seismic phenomena, as round the south of the Tyrrhenian and 
the ^gean seas. 

The precise form of each belt in this sequence depends not only 
on the underlying structure, but also on the forces that have been 
acting on that structure, and on the time during which that action 


General plan of wind-system. 

has been felt. In other words, the World-relation of the continent 
is climatic as well as physical. In the nature of things, an area 
lying on the eastern side of a great ocean and poleward of 3 7 "-45° N. 
must have warm wet S.W. Anti-Trades blowing normally towards 
it ; and thus two fundamental conditions for the presence of ice on 
a large scale — high latitude and heavy precipitation — are guaranteed. 
This would be the case even if there were no permanent wind-whirl 
(or low-pressure area) off Iceland — a possibility demanded by the 
assumption of some geologists that there could have been no wide 
glaciation unless the oceanic circulation had been interrupted by 
the existence of land and the vertical circulation of the atmosphere 
consequently much accelerated by " continental " influences. 

We assume, then, heavy precipitation, cyclonic or otherwise, 
over the north-west of our area, leading to wide glaciation — at all 
events over the higher parts of the area ; and, while all the higher 
ground, especially our ridge of Young Folded Mountains, may 
have had more or less independent centres of glaciation, — the Rhone 

I World-Relations 3 

valley having been covered with 5000 feet of ice — the great centre 
must have been where maximum rainfall and minimum temperature 
were combined. This occurs where the great lowland is skirted, on 
the brink of the Atlantic, by the Scandinavian highlands ; and from 
this the ice-flow must have "radiated," and did radiate. 

Again we are prepared for certain results. We are prepared BesnltB of 
to find, e.g., that the great weight of ice depressed the north-west G^acia- 
of the area, probably in many places below ocean-level, — that the ^^^ 
regular wind-wyr (or high-pressure) movement over the interior 
lowland in winter would distribute glacier-silt to form loess, 
especially to south and south-east of the maximum extension of the 
ice-sheet, — and that the progress of the ice-sheet up-hill towards the 
south would be slow and short. This last consideration would 
lead us further. All pre-glacial organic forms which survived 
at all, must have migrated southwards before this ice-sheet; but 
the high ridge of Young Folded Mountains was also glaciated, and 
sunward of it was the complementary sea-filled depression. This 
double obstacle to movement southward and the narrowness of the 
belt between the two areas of glaciation suggest that we shall find 
relative poverty of native flora and fauna, owing to wholesale 
massacre in the Great Ice Age. Naturally, this is specially 
characteristic of Scandinavia. 

But the question of precipitation is of supreme importance quite Swing of 
apart from its relation to the action of ice. The most important "^i^^d- 
single phenomenon in World-climate is probably the swing of the ^ 
wind-system with the sun, leading to a swing of the rain belts and 
rain seasons. The northward movement of the sun in the northern 
summer carries the source of the Trade-winds north of the great 
tableland deserts, which lie in the broadest parts of the perpendicular 
"triangles" of the tetrahedron in latitudes south of 37°-45°N. 
Indeed, the deserts are largely caused by the Trade-winds, which 
are not only cold and dry so near to their source, but also moving 
from colder to warmer latitudes, and therefore able to hold more 
moisture than they can get. We are prepared, then, for an area 
of summer drought in Southern Europe ; and this must have 
accentuated the poverty of the natural flora and fauna. 

For, obviously, any plant or animal association must flourish Transi- 
best where conditions are most favourable to it ; and, therefore, *^^ 
any such association must be most powerful, i.e. most difficult to 
oust, in its natural zone. But in the transition area between one 
natural zone and the next no natural association can be as stable 
as inside one or other of the natural zones ; and thus these 
transition areas must have afforded early Man special facilities for 
pushing in himself and his domestic plants and animals. The 
most marked of all these areas is that between the Trades and the 
Anti-Trades, i.e. the " Mediterranean " latitudes ; and in the case 

The Continent of Europe 



of the actual Mediterranean basin, as we have seen, other causes 
had already led to relative poverty of natural flora and fauna. 

Outside the poleward limit of the Trades, we may expect that 
the Anti-Trades should bring unfailing supplies of rain throughout 
the year ; but the same kind of continental conditions which 
favoured a glacial sheet in the Great Ice Age, may favour semi-glacial 
conditions every winter. In that case the interior lowland will be 
covered with a sheet of cold heavy air, into which it will be 
impossible for the warm light air of the S.W. Anti-Trades to intrude. 
Only in summer, when the interior heats up and actually attracts an 
inflow, will these warm light winds be able to bring their burden of 
rain inland. 



Stanforj S Ji-^ 

Columbus' first voyage. 

Again we are prepared for certain results. We are prepared to 
find, e.g., that wheat-growing is much encouraged on the interior 
lowlands by early summer rains, — that the summer-drought greatly 
favours fruit-growing in the lee of the Young Folded Mountains — 
that the complementary character of the seasons north and south 
of these mountains, with its necessary accompaniment of comple- 
mentary crops, must have led to intercourse between the two areas 
in very early times. 

One other point remains. We expect that the oldest foldings 
of crust will have weathered most, and that their weatherings will 
have gravitated northwards. If so, the lowlands will be modified 
chemically and physically owing to the distribution — by wind, 
water, and ice — of the denuded materials ; and the old folded 
highland will have been carved by deep sinuous valleys and other 
signs of a river-system that is complex because imposed on a base 
appropriate to vastly different conditions in ages long past. 

So far as the distribution of land on the Earth is concerned, 
the western end of this old folded highland marks approximately 
the mathematical centre of all the habitable surface ; and, so far as 
the distribution of water is concerned, it is the point from which 

I World-Relations 5 

Trade-winds carry away in summer, and to which Anti-Trades bring 
back in winter, over the narrowest and most important ocean on 
the face of the earth. To this the Discovery of America and 
the commercial history of England are significant and explicit 
corollaries ; it also involves implicitly the conditions under which 
cryptogamic vegetation came to be buried under submarine mud 
in the process of being converted into coal, and under which land- 
locked basins came to be cut off so completely from the ocean that 
they became salt enough to be the source of the great salt-beds of 
Europe. Cf p. lo. 

All things considered, these are the two most important minerals 
in the modern development of Europe. 





Within the World relation is the more intimate regional one, the 
local environment ; and, in the case of Europe, the more important 
aspects of the precise site and surroundings are rather climatic and 
economic towards the north-west, and rather physical and political 
towards the south-east. The latter was the more important histori- 
cally ; for before the particularist Nomad of the ocean margin had 
expanded westward in his ships, the patriarchal Nomad of the 
continental steppe had expanded westward on his horse. 

Oceans of sea and Saharan sand isolated the essentially European 
area on the north, the west, and the south. Only on the east was 
there a natural physical link with a neighbouring continent ; and across 
the only part of this link which is neither mountainous nor forested, 
the Caspian Sea stretches the barrier of 700 miles of water from 
north to south. The character of the unforested lowland to the 
north of the Caspian is due largely to its emergence from beneath 
the waters of the Arctic Ocean — an emergence so recent geologically 
that the seals in the Caspian still retain almost all the normal 
" Arctic " characteristics. The low, smooth surface of this exposed 
sea-floor, — the desiccation involved in the disappearance of the 
great southward expansion of the Arctic Ocean, — and the constancy 
of icy winds in the winter from the Siberian Pole of Cold, all com- 
bined to preserve this Ural-Caspian gap as an easy steppe road 
into Europe. Mr, Mackinder has justly called it "The Geographical 
Pivot of History." 

The name Asia (Asu = " Sunrise ") was originally confined to the 
plains behind Ephesus, while all to the west of the vEgean might be 
called Europe {£rtfi = " Sunset ") ; and, of course, the ^gean itself 
made an unmistakable western frontier to Asia in this limited sense. 
In the larger sense, Asia, as a great home of Man, is separated from 
Europe, as another great home of Man, by this very thinly peopled 
steppe. The northern route into Europe over this lowland steppe 
from the " Land of the Horsemen," which was followed by the finer 
types of Yellow man, — Huns and Magyars, Bulgars and Finns, — 


Regional Relations 

is easier than that southern route over the plateau steppe, from 
the " Land of the Camel-men," which was followed by the Turks. 
But the environment of both routes was pastoral and patriarchal, 
favourable only to nomad shepherds, eaters of meat and cheese, 
fighters for grass and water ; and any decrease in rainfall meant not 
only scantier supplies of water and grass, but also an increased 
percentage of bright sunshine, such as has, by its nerve-stimulus, 
largely accounted for the great movements of people over the vast 
grasslands of the world, whether steppes or savanas. It was in the 
great cycle of drought, between 400 B.C. and 600 a.d., that hunger 

Distribution (in hours) of bright sunshine. 

and actinic stimulus gave birth to the epoch-making migrations of 
Goths and Huns and Vandals, and to similar movements in Arabia, 
Persia, and Kashmir, of which Mahomet's was the most important. 

The separation of Europe from Asia is, therefore, historic rather Independ- 
than geographical, political rather than physical ; and — although, as ^^^ 0^ 
a matter of fact, at the summit of the two Trans-Ural railways, '"^°P®* 
as on the summit of the Dariel Pass, there are sign-posts with 
" Europe " on one arm and " Asia " on the other — the weakness 
of any politico-historic influences is shown by the fact that the 
nominal frontier in the east runs neither along the Urals, where no 
continuous crest can be marked out at all, nor along the Caucasus, 
where the crest is a typical piece of sierra. It is, indeed, a mere 


The Continent of Europe 





and Early 

compromise between geographical and political conditions; and 
where it is most important, at the Ural-Caspian gap, it is partly the 
course of the Ural river, i.e. a line towards which human movement 
is attracted from both sides rather than one from which human 
movement is diverted in opposite directions. 

At the same time that specific development of the continent 
from the south to which its practical separation from Asia is due, 
had its own geographical base. 

The earliest debt of Europe to its southern neighbour was 
incurred in prehistoric times. The initial movements of the little 
brown-skinned, long-headed Gondwanas — as we may call primeval 
man — must have been entirely longitudinal, or at least isothermal, 
i.e. roughly east or west from the primeval race-home ; and sub- 
sequent movements into Europe must have been much easier for 
the African branch over the two or three " Mediterranean " land- 
bridges than for any Asiatic branch across — or even round — the 
Kirghiz Sea. Indeed, two of the land-bridges, the " Italian " and 
the " Greek," led through a climate that was very favourable to the 
progress of early Man, being too transitional to encourage strong 
associations (cf p. 3), and being kept equable by the great expanse 
of sea (now largely converted into steppe and desert) that stretched 
north-eastward up the Aralo-Caspian depression and south-westward 
over the Shari-Congo basin. It was, therefore, inherently probable 
that remains of very early Man would some day be found round the 
northern end of these bridges, i.e. on the Riviera, at Gibraltar, in 
Croatia, and that most progress should be made in those parts of 
the continent which had been earliest populated. Recent develop- 
ments in the attitude of Historians to " Minoan " and " pre-Minoan " 
civilisation confirm the geographical probability. 

Once the surface of the globe had approximated to its present 
condition, this Mediterranean area was still likely to favour progress 
in many ways. Its latitude guarantees absolute freedom both from 
continued high temperatures and from even occasional extensions 
of extreme cold ; at the same time it involves alternate participation 
in purely temperate conditions, as dependent on the rainfall regime 
of the Anti-Trades, and in essentially tropical conditions, as depend- 
ent on the desiccating influence of the Trades. 

In this area early Man was specially favoured, therefore, by the 
absence of the most adverse climatic condition, a hard winter ; for 
the mountain uplift to the north protected him from the harshest 
phenomena of the so-called temperate zone, while the sea to the 
south preserved every year an almost tropical temperature long after 
the summer drought had given place to winter rain. There was, 
therefore, no frost to cut down crops, nor was there pressing need 
for fatty nitrogenous food. At the same time, the rainfall was so 
distributed as to check the growth of dense forest : there was no 

II Regional Relations 9 

" closed association," for the struggle was not so keen that no new 
species could force its way in ; nor, on the other hand, had the 
land been left intractable as the result of glaciation. 

These two considerations are of great importance. North of North v. 
the Alps, even after the forest had been largely cleared, it took South, 
centuries for the ill-drained surface to become really fit for human 
habitation, so that it remained a land only of hunters and foresters 
long after southern Europe had been settled by tillers of the soil. 
And in that southern area, as the drought came just when the heat 
was greatest, and as the rainy season was cool, luxuriance of vegetation 
was impossible ; for half of every year in the contest between man 
and nature, nature was passive or at best drowsy, and during that 
same period no tropical rain forbade man to make use of his most 
deadly weapon — fire. 

Even so the case is understated. Far from tropical scenes of Social 
senseless competition, species are social ; and, as these social species Species. 
included such food-plants as the olive and sweet-chestnut, man 
could find his daily food near at hand and in great abundance. 
Life thus became stationary, or at all events man had a fixed home, 
in which things could be kept ; and at once savagery, with its lack 
of family ties and family goods, gave place to a civilisation based on 
the accumulation of wealth and the transmission of experience. 

With the development of human activities in historic ages, the Drought 
sea and its non-European hinterland were still favourable to progress. Control. 
That hinterland included practically two areas in which the summer 
drought was so much extended as to be almost permanent drought, 
with a consequent imperious necessity for irrigation ; and in each 
case the area was provided with a river-system the most conspicuous 
feature of which was an annual and beneficent flood. The most 
elementary processes of surveying the flood area — a natural and 
necessary occupation — involved the discovery of arithmetical and 
geometrical principles, as the beneficence of the flood involved an 
absence of cloud by day and by night ; and the attraction of the 
stars to those who spent the night on the flat roofs appropriate to a 
rainless land, led to an early application of the arithmetic and 
geometry to the study of the stars. 

Again, when Egypt and Mesopotamia had thus supplied the The 
dwellers on the Levantine coasts with a scientific basis both for Levant 
navigation and for evolving a system of weights and measures, the 
Phoenician trader was still specially favoured by the geographical 
conditions of the area. Not only is the sea practically tideless, 
but it is also exceptionally safe at night ; for the ordinary sequence 
of "land and sea breezes" is greatly quickened by the cloudless 
skies, and must involve off'-shore drift at night. Nor was this all. 
In the clear air that is typical of the Mediterranean basin, the 
mountain peaks of distant lands were seen so distinctly — as Cyprus 


The Continent of Europe 


Lack of 


Atlantic v. 

can be seen from the Phoenician coast — that they must have 
been at once a main incentive to early voyages of discovery, 
and an inestimable aid to navigation in days before the invention 
of any nautical instruments. The Penas de Europa, though not 
actually on the Mediterranean, were for ages "The Lighthouse of 

In early times, then, the Mediterranean race lived under 
conditions that did not strain their infant powers ; and those of 
them who lived on the warm temperate shore had every opportunity 
of receiving stimulus and civilisation from their more advanced 
relations on the subtropical shore. It was an additional advantage 
that the intercourse was by sea, as that — in strong contrast to the 
steppe route in later times — favoured the inflow of ideas rather 
than people. 

The very ease of life and navigation in the south, however, 
though favourable to early activities, was destined to be a drawback 
with the advance of civilisation, so that within 2000 years the 
centre of civilisation had moved to the north-west of the continent. 
There survival was only to the strong and fearless, and the most 
helpful features of the coast are the best proof of the hard conditions 
of life. Thus, it is specifically where a fractured plateau-scarp is 
exposed to wild storms and heavy precipitation in high latitudes 
that the combined action of ice and torrents develops such a 
nursery of mariners as a fiord system. Again, where the plateau 
gives place southward to plain, navigable rivers can give access to 
and from the ocean ; and where the tough, old, folded highland is 
abruptly severed in the Armorican peninsula, abundant traces of 
Viking blood still show that the ria was a good substitute for the 

But all these things are more or less subordinate to the funda- 
mental fact that we have here a piece of Atlantic margin ; and the 
slight variation in the width of the S-shaped Atlantic suggests, 
even on a political map, that the shape bears no relation to the 
grain of the enclosing lands. On the contrary, these are abruptly 
cut short seaward — obviously as in Norway and Newfoundland, 
Brittany and Brazil, or otherwise, as where the North European 
plain drops from its submarine loo-fathom terminus. This ignoring 
of essential feature-lines has two important results which react on 
each other. The one is a great variety of coast — fiord and ria, 
estuary and gulf, peninsula and island ; the other is access to and 
from an immense hinterland. 

Here is the fundamental distinction between the Atlantic and 
the Pacific. The latter has had a simple history, its surrounding 
mountain-lines having been folded up continuously as its floor 
sank ; and so its form is simple — a vast basin the edge of which 
is almost everywhere backed by mountains and festooned with 


Regional Relations 


mountainous islands. Tiie Atlantic has had a complex history, 
in a succession of subsidences which broke across the grain of the 
land ; and so its form is complex, finding its epitome and climax 

Floor of Atlantic, showing feature-lines. 

in Europe, a " Peninsula of peninsulas." As the two basins are of 
approximately the same size, the smaller ocean must have the 
larger hinterland ; and, having much the easier access to that 
hinterland by reason of its varied coast-line, it must be much the 
more important economically. 


The Continent of Europe 


Sea Fish- 

lax Dis- 


The influence of such conditions on Man must naturally have 
been greatest where the conditions were most emphasised, i.e. in 
Europe ; and in this connection the water-forms and land-forms 
are equally important. Geographically, a sea-fishery is the only 
firm foundation for a mercantile marine ; and its essential condi- 
tions are profoundly favourable to the rise of pure democracy, based 
on the equality of man and man in the jointly-owned boat, and the 
equality of man and woman in the common home from which the 
fisherman is absent so often and so long that dual control must be 
evolved. No doubt, the depth and other conditions make the 
Mediterranean deficient in marine life of economic value, as it is 
in tidal power ; but the North Sea is one of the finest fishing 
grounds on the face of the globe. The Atlantic tides are so 
strongly felt in the shallow enclosed area that there is great rise 
and fall of water-level in the long estuaries which feed the sea with 
river-mud and its accompanying fish-food, and the upper and lower 
strata of the water are so mixed as to make an absolutely homo- 
geneous unit ; the slightly submerged banks, especially the Dogger, 
are ideal fishing centres, having deep " pits " into which the fish 
can " drop " in cold or stormy weather ; and the abundance of 
river-mud discharged into the sea, especially towards the south, 
where the shores are most densely populated, makes the submarine 
'"deltas" ideal fish-nurseries. Cf. p. i6. 

The land-forms, on the other hand, are predominantly peninsular ; 
and, in the nature of things, peninsulas are essentially semi-sub- 
merged highland or mountain areas. They enjoy the climatic, 
commercial, and strategic advantages of a sea environment ; but, 
unlike islands, their apparent unity of form is negatived by the 
normal presence of a mountain back-bone, which throws off human 
activities, like river-systems, in opposite directions. And, as their 
relative excess of length over breadth makes them difficult to govern 
from a single centre in early times, and gives them considerable 
difference of climate ^ and consequently of economic interests at the 
extreme ends, they are found to be adverse to political unity. This 
led to great variety of development between peninsula and 
peninsula as well as within the limits of each ; and this variety 
led in turn to natural intercourse and mutual interchange of ideas 
and products. 

Again, the area of the peninsulas is relatively small ; but the 
climatic conditions were favourable to the growth of population in 
early times. The natural result was that the population reached 
" Saturation - point " somewhat prematurely, and the only remedy 
was emigration. How great the facilities for this were, may be 
gauged from the estimate that the development of coast is 

^ The normal direction of the great peninsulas (N.-S. ) implies great latitudinal 
variation of climate. 

II Regional Relations 13 

sufficient to give one mile of coast to every 75 square miles of 
land ; and the political importance of this was greatly increased 
by the fact that the chief peninsulas show very marked differences 
of relief and climate, with corresponding differences of products 
and their attendant occupations. The various geographic units, 
therefore, not only developed more or less independently of one 
another, but also on independent lines ; so that the varied outline 
and the varied surface of the continent were reflected in a variety of 
social and political types which was very favourable to the progress 
of civilisation. 

Under such conditions the Atlantic margin of Eurasia developed Atlantic 
a civilisation widely different from that of the Pacific margin, — Civilisa- 
a civilisation essentially based on variety, mobility, change; and 
this difference has been reflected in almost all the normal activities, 
e.g. the art of the two areas. Geographically, art is the child of 
energy and leisure, indolence and bustle being equally adverse ; 
and the prime defect of Western art reflects the peninsular environ- 
ment of the artists. For the constant and rapid changes of life, 
with their concomitant changes of artistic ideals and fashions, have 
never given time for any one phase to develop a system of decoration 
completely suited to its subject-matter. In the Orient, on the 
contrary, Man's art, like his life, has known so little change that 
it has slowly evolved forms perfectly adapted to their subject and 
their functiona 



Black Sea 


The development of Europe, then, is intimately connected with its 
surrounding ocean and seas ; but in this respect the White Sea and 
the Caspian have been of little importance, for the exposure to icy 
N. and N.E. winds in winter, the amount of fresh water sent down 
into them by rivers, the shallowness of all the White Sea and of the 
" European " part of the Caspian, cause them to be ice-bound for 
months every year, while the isolation, by latitude, of the White 
Sea, and by physique, of the Caspian, have further helped to 
minimise their utility. The Baltic and the Black Sea are more 
useful, but anywhere east of a line roughly joining the two great 
harbours of Copenhagen and Constantinople conditions are 
relatively unfavourable. 

In the case of the Black Sea, for instance, there are practically 
few of the fishing phenomena which are the natural basis of com- 
merce. It seems that, when the original crustal convulsion opened 
up the Bosphorus chink between the salt Mediterranean and the 
relatively fresh Euxine, the heavy salt water rushed into the latter 
and flooded its lower levels, killing off the native "fresh-water" 
fauna. One result of this was that the heavy salt water was suffused 
with sulphuretted hydrogen, and the lower layers have become 
lifeless. On the other hand, navigation is encouraged by a warm 
surface current, the ultimate result of somewhat complex conditions. 

In winter the surface water reaches freezing-point, though it 
does not actually freeze except near the coast ; and the reason for 
this is that the temperature of maximum density in the relatively 
fresh surface-water is considerably above 32° F. At this temperature, 
then, the heavy, chilled water sinks down on to the still heavier, 
though warmer, salt layers. 

This locates the minimum deep-temperature in intermediate 
levels (25-50 fathoms). But when the greatest amount of fresh 
water is being discharged by the Dnieper and other large rivers, 
there is such a surplus as to give rise to a strong current of cool 
fresh water out of the sea. The pace and relative lightness of this 


CH. Ill Marginal and Midland Seas 15 

keep it naturally in the centre and on the surface of the Bosphorus 
channel, while a counter current of warm salt water drifts into the 
Black Sea along the shores and on the bottom of the channel. 
This warm, salt, shore current not only keeps the strait unfrozen 
except at the rarest intervals of extraordinary winter cold, but also 
materially influences both the climate and the actual operations of 
navigation in the Black Sea. It is already divided into two before 
it leaves the Bosphorus, and this division is maintained in its 
passage over the shallow "North-European" (cf. p. 22) floor of 
the Black Sea, so that one branch eventually penetrates between 
the outflowing waters of the Dnieper and the Dniester to Odessa, 
while the other skirts Sebastopol. It is thanks to this that the 
Odessa harbour is seldom frozen up for more than a few days, and 
so the city is able to make full use of its position between two 
rivers whose mouths are intricate and difficult to navigate, and 
whose fresh waters are easily frozen. 

The Baltic is still more important, especially in the history of Baltic Sea. 
civilisation. Its physical boundary is the partly submerged plateau 
on which Riigen and the Danish islands stand, and up to which 
there is a perceptible tide, amounting to 1 2 inches at Copenhagen ; 
and the somewhat similar Aland ridge cuts off the Baltic proper 
from the Gulf of Bothnia. These submarine barriers have important 
effects on the circulation of the water somewhat similar to those in 
the Black Sea. Thus, the circulation inside the Baltic itself is 
mainly superficial, the heavier salter layers being so much blocked 
in as to be almost stagnant — a condition which is again adverse to 
marine life ; but, as the Baltic — like the Black Sea in a less degree 
— receives much more water by rain and river than it loses by 
evaporation in such a latitude, over these stagnant strata there is 
a fresh-water current out into the North Sea except when the S.W. 
wind is blowing strongly. 

Owing to the rotation of the Earth this current hugs the Baltic 
Swedish coast ; and, being dependent on the summer rain and the Circula- 
melting of snow and ice, it varies so much in volume that there *°^" 
is an inflow of what is called " Bank water " from the North Sea 
from September to April. This inflow, which seems naturally to 
come mainly from the deeper northern parts of the North Sea in 
late winter and early spring, and mainly from the shallower southern 
parts in the autumn and early winter, — and which is independent of 
a constant undercurrent into the Baltic of normal North Sea water, — 
has an important relation to the fishing industry. 

Of course, extremes of temperature increase to the north and Ice-bound 
the east ; but, except north of the Quarken Narrows, the interfer- Coasts, 
ence with traffic is less than might be imagined. Even in the 
Gulf of Finland, which is ice-bound for about 150 days every 
year, important traffic can be, and is, carried on by means of ice- 


The Continent of Europe 


North Sea. 



breakers. In hard winters the island -studded Aland Strait is 
covered with ice strong enough for heavy traffic ; and the coasts 
between the strait and the Quarken Narrows are frozen up every 
year except where, in occasional years, ports with some exposure to 
Atlantic winds from the west and with salt "pits" to the east of 
them, e.g. Hernosand and Oxelosand, may remain open the whole 
winter (cf. Windau and Libau). Otherwise, even between Stockholm 
and Visby, navigation is usually stopped from Christmas to Easter ; 
and in severe winters there may be a good deal of loose, drifting ice 
in the Kattegat. In the last 2000 years the entire sea has been 
frozen over perhaps half a dozen times — for instance, King Charles 
X. certainly marc/ied his army across the Belts in 1658 — and, with 
the constant accumulation of river-borne silt, the shore-waters are 
becoming so much shallower that they are more and more suscept- 
ible to frost. 

West of the Copenhagen-Constantinople line conditions are not 
only favourable, but actually very stimulating, to human activity, 
especially in the North Sea. This may be regarded as a shallow 
and often stormy sea which slightly covers, and entirely surrounds, 
the large low " plateau " of the Dogger Bank ; and, in the lee of 
this bank, the bed of the sea, which is part of the continental shelf 
having a fairly regular slope down from south to north, is scarred 
with a series of local depressions such as the " Silver Pit," the " Sole 
Pit," the Coal Pit, etc. 

The whole area may be divided into three parts, all of which 
converge on the Skager-Rak. The south is the shallowest, with 
an average depth of only 20 fathoms ; and, except in the pits, no 
part of the sea south of the Dogger has a depth of 30 fathoms. This 
southern section is flooded, especially from the south-east, with 
quantities of deltaic mud, alive with the small organisms that make 
the best food for young fish. It is, therefore, an ideal breeding- 
ground for fish ; and its shores have naturally become the homes 
of amphibious races, such as the Frisians and Saxons, the English 
and the Dutch. The Dover Strait is so narrow, and this part of the 
sea Itself is so shallow, that the temperature of it is controlled 
mainly by the air above it. It is, therefore, relatively cold in 
winter, when there is normally a cold outflow of air and water 
from the North European plain and its rivers, and so winter 
trawling is largely confined to the " Dogger " ; while in summer 
the shallow waters off" the continental coast are more frequented. 
At all times, however, the tides so mix the upper and lower layers 
and the oceanic and continental waters that this shallow section is 
more or less homogeneous to the bottom. 

The central section is roughly parallel to the east coast of 
Scotland, and has an average depth of 50 to 60 fathoms; and, 
as it is chilled towards the east in winter, and freshened 


Marginal and Midland Seas 


towards the east in summer, and as the tide moves south- 

ward more slowly through the shallower Scotch waters than through 
the deeper Norwegian waters, conditions are more favourable 



The Continent of Europe 



mentB of 


both to the fish and to the fishermen on the west than on the 
east of the Long Forties Banks. This central section, Hke the 
southern, owes to the northern section its main supplies of the 
Atlantic element, which fills the " pits " with denser, because Salter, 
but warmer water. 

The tide enters this shallow, marginal sea from both north-west 
and south-west, and in conjunction with the currents determines the 
site and the season of the fisheries, — the herring fishing beginning 
off the Shetlands in June, and ending off Yarmouth in November, — 
as well as the position of the chief harbours and the inducements to 
fisL For over such a sea-floor the height of the tide determined 
both the area laid bare by the ebb, with its supplies of stranded fish, 
and the distance of the ports inland. And, as the southward tide 
naturally hugs the British coast (cf. p. 15), while the northward tide 
•works eastward, a circulatory motion is set up which is profoundly 
important in the distribution of fish. 

The eggs of all the more important fish except herring float, and 
sea-fish begin to spawn when their food-supply begins to increase, 
i.e. in late spring and early summer, when the warm, salt, oceanic 
water is drifting food southward along the Scotch east coast. At 
the same time the inflow of cold and fresh water is driving the fish 
away from the east and towards the west shores of the sea, so that 
this western area is specially the spawning ground. The circulatory 
motion, therefore, carries the eggs away from England to the deltaic 
muds of the Dutch coast j they are hatched on the journey, and 
arrive at their destination as enormous shoals of tiny fish. Here 
their numbers produce such over-population that the food-supply 
(though very large indeed) soon begins to fail, with the result that 
the larger and stronger fish tend to migrate westward. From time 
immemorial, therefore, this must have drawn the finest fish towards 
the English coast, — even adult plaice being known to travel 200 
miles in one season, — a fact of prime significance in the develop- 
ment of the English fishing industry and its dependent mercantile 

The part played by the Mediterranean has been very difTerent. 
Not only does its basin form a distinct natural region between the 
Alpine uplift and the Sahara wastes ; but also the sea itself is four 
times as long as it is wide, a great commercial advantage which has 
made it one of the great "high roads of civilisation." Its tempera- 
ture, salinity, and circulation are, therefore, of relatively little 
moment, although, as a matter of fact, the tide at Venice sometimes 
reaches the height of three feet. Obviously latitude and distance from 
the Atlantic make the salinity and the temperature of the surface 
water decrease from the south-east to the north-west, except below 
the level of the sill which separates the Atlantic from the Mediter- 
ranean and forms the floor of the Straits of Gibraltar. Through 

in Marginal and Midland Seas 19 

these straits, as through the Dardanelles, there is a current of 
relatively fresh surface water into the Mediterranean, where the 
excessive loss by evaporation and the small contribution from the 
rivers lower the surface-level and increase the salinity. There is a 
salt undercurrent outwards (cf. p. 15), but the inward surface 
current is much the larger and the stronger. Indeed, it was the pace 
of this current that wrecked the ill-fated Utopia off Europa Point, as 
it is the weight of tlie out-current and the height of the Gibraltar 
sill which prevent the deep " Arctic " waters of the Atlantic from 
bringing their life-giving oxygen into the Mediterranean. 

Both the north-western, warm-temperate, mountain-girt basin Two 
and the south-eastern, sub-tropical, gulf-girt basin have more pro- Basins. 
nounced articulation of outline and better economic outlets on the 
European than on the non-European side ; and in each case there 
is an island pivot. From the natural centre of Sardinia— held in 
turn by Carthage and Rome, Goth and Byzantine, Vandal and 
Arab, Emperor and Pope, Aragon and Austria — Port Mahon 
invites to the Balearic islands and the Ebro valley, as Corsica does 
to the Apennine passes and the Lombard plain, or to the great 
through-route of the Rhone valley. So the natural centre of Crete 
— held in turn by Greek and Roman, Saracen and Crusader, Venetian 
and Turk — commands the east -and -west bridge of the Cyclades 
and the north-and-south waterway of the ^2gean to and from the 
Black Sea and the Morava confluence with the Danube. Sicily, oft 
the shallow saddle between these two deep basins, was the natural 
key to both, and was therefore held in turn by every dominant 
Power — Carthage, Greece, and Rome, Saracens, Normans, and 
Angevins ; and its command of both shores of Italy, and their 
relations respectively to Genoa and Venice, gave it as much political 
importance in ancient times as its natural fertility gave it economic 
importance, especially as an exporter of grain. 

Since the opening of the Suez canal and the development of Suez 
prairie agriculture, however, the position has changed. For the Route, 
whole produce of Sicily is absolutely immaterial to the world's 
grain-market ; and, on the other hand, the Suez route is unlike most 
other great water-thoroughfares, for it does not admit of Great Circle 
sailing, nor is it really oceanic. It is essentially a coastal route, fed 
from a number of " bays " ; and the length of these leads to the 
development of a number of foci, e.g. Barcelona, Marseilles, Genoa, 
Naples, etc., more or less subordinate to a few others placed roughly 
on the horns of each " bay," e.g. Gibraltar and Malta (cf. Aden and 
Colombo). All the Mediterranean coastlands are notably lacking in 
coal, but all along the European shores there are so many heavy 
cargoes out that cheap coal comes in everywhere ; for instance, 
coal is carried past Algiers to Constantinople at a lower rate than to 
Algiers itself. 


The Continent of Europe 




The climatic influence of the Atlantic is indissolubly bound 
up with its economic influence, especially its facilities for commerce. 
In days when nautical instruments were very roughly made, and 
when ships were so few that there was little or no fear of collisions 
except in the Narrow Seas, it was a great advantage that the 
continental shelf drops to abysmal depths so abruptly 200 miles 
west of Land's End that there is a change of colour and of move- 
ment in the surface layers of the ocean, — a change so marked as to 
be unmistakable to the experienced eye. In later days, when 
artificial aids to navigation were multiplied, the Faroer plateau not 
only cut off" the Atlantic — by the Wyville Thomson ridge — from the 
icy Arctic waters of the Norwegian Sea, but also provided a base 
for such a light as that of Rockall — with its curious resemblance to 
a ship under full sail, due to the dark stone of its hull-base being 
covered at the higher levels with the guano of billions of sea-birds. 
And, with the present development of international commerce, it 
is at least equally important that where the opposite coasts (of 
Newfoundland and Ireland) approach within the minimum distance 
of 1750 miles, there is a somewhat similar submarine ridge, the 
use of which is betrayed by its name of The Telegraph Plateau. 

These advantages are emphasised by the fact that the Atlantic 
is by far the saltest of all the oceans, and that the maximum salinity 
in the North Atlantic occurs north of the tropic between the 
Sahara edge and the Dolphin Divide — the centre of which is 
marked approximately by its highest elevation in the Azores. A 
drift of relatively high salinity is therefore found to the east of the 
Dolphin Divide in Anti-Trade latitudes the whole way from the 
tropic to the Faroer ridge ; and the influence of the Anti-Trades 
themselves, of the warm Gulf Stream Drift, and of this high salinity, 
cause icebergs to be practically unknown anywhere inside these 

Again, in days when steamers were unknown, the circulation of 
air over this same section of the Atlantic had an intimate relation to 
the history of geographical discovery. For the demand for air to fill 
the " vacuum " caused by the violent up-current over the heated 
desert of the Ibero-Saharan plateau so emphasises the normal down- 
current over the cool ocean that the wind-wyr round the Azores 
is abnormally large and strong ; and the direction and regularity of 
the rotating winds not only account for the excellence of the port 
wine of the neighbouring coasts, but also provide that coast with 
a direct and unfailing link between the outward Trades and the 
homeward Anti-Trades (cf. p. 5). 

With the substitution of coal for sails, and the consequent power 
of going " straight " independently of all winds and currents, 
the European harbours with the best access to coal are found to 
stand on or near a Great Circle which makes the shortest route from 

Ill Marginal and Midland Seas 21 

Liverpool to Panama pass relatively " quite close " to such important 

harbours as Halifax (N.S.), Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Balti- 
more, Norfolk (the U.S.A. coaling station), Havana, and Kingston. 






Europe is divided naturally into two distinct areas — a northern 
area of lowland, blocked westward by the old folded highlands of 
Scandinavia, and a southern area of old folded highlands, ribbed 
southward by young folded mountains ; and the distinction is not 
limited to the land forms, but applies also to the marginal and 
midland seas. The North Sea, the Baltic, and the White Sea, are 
all shallow encroachments of the ocean on the northern lowland, 
not one of them more than 600 feet deep except in occasional 
troughs or pits ; the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, and the Caspian, 
are all due to subsidences, and each of them has a depth of fully 
6000 feet over quite a large area. 

The Caspian and the Black Sea have a special interest in this 
respect, because they actually contain submerged parts of the 
dividing line between the two areas. Thus, the geologically recent 
foundering of the " Black Sea " has abruptly cut off the European 
Balkans from their continuation in the Yaila Dagh, and the Yaila 
Dagh from their continuation in the Caucasus ; and the latter 
range is abruptly cut off from the Asiatic Balkans by the subsidence 
of the "Caspian." In each case to the north of the divide, as in 
the Sea of Azof and the northern basins of the Caspian, the depth 
never exceeds 600 feet, and is typical of the northern lowland ; 
and the land link of the Manych Depression between the two seas 
corresponds exactly to that of the Swedish Lakeland between the 
North Sea and the Baltic, as the freshness of the North Caspian 
water — which is quite drinkable — parallels that of the Bothnian Gulf. 

There is an equally important, but not so obvious, structural 
division between east and west, the eastern half consisting of un- 
folded lowlands — where even earthquakes are unknown — merging 
to the north-west in an ancient mountain-system worn down into a 
peneplain, while the western half (west of 20° E.) consists of ancient 
"block and basin," merging to the south-east in young folded 
mountains, where there are at least four centres of volcanic activity, 
and earthquakes are an every-day occurrence. 




The relation of this longitudinal division to the latitudinal Divisions 
explains what is most significant in the arrangement of the land '" ''* ^"^ 
forms of the continent so far as man is concerned. Thus, we have 

the North European or Swedo-Finnish peneplain flanked seaward 
by the Scandinavian Highlands and merging landward in the east 
European or Russian lowland, while the Mid-European or Franco- 

24 The Continent of Europe ch. 

German peneplain is flanked seaward by the Alpine system, and 
merges landward in the Great European plain. In both cases the 
relatively speedy contraction of the cooling interior of the earth 
left areas of the crust unsupported, and therefore bound eventually 
to tumble in ; but in the one case the crustal section was rigid and 
fractured cleanly, while in the other it was flexible and crumpled 
into folds. In the one case, therefore, a fractured block has been 
so exposed to climatic influences as to have isolated man in the 
fiord environment which is the best nursery of individualism ; in 
the other, sections of the folded chain have collapsed bodily, or 
odd links have been so worn and weakened as to give maximum 
facilities for human intercourse — by such gaps as that between the 
Pyrenees and the Alps, or such passes as those of the Simplon 
and St. Gothard. Further, the rigidity of the old Mid-European 
peneplain intensified the folding of the young Alpine chain to such 
an extent that whole blocks on the margins of the folds subsided ; 
and here we find, therefore, small but profoundly fertile plains, as 
in the 20,000 square miles of the "Lombard," or the 40,000 square 
miles of the " Magyar " plain. 

Soils. These, however, are mainly covered with alluvial soils ; and 

alluvial soils are less lasting than the glacial and more mixed soils 
north of the Alpine folds. The fertility of these "strong" soils 
is due to the great variety of rock from which they have been 
formed in unglaciated areas, or to the direct action of glaciation in 
so mixing soils. And the great Scandinavian centre was in this 
respect much more influential than any of the subordinate centres, 
e.g. the Alps, not only because there the ice-sheet was thickest 
and most active, but also because the finest and most fertile glacial 
drift could, when dry, be transported by wind over a great plain. 

Loess. Obviously, the dryness could only accompany a wyr movement 

of the atmosphere, in which the wind moves in the same direction 
as the hands of a clock ; and, therefore, the glacial silt would 
naturally be drifted all over the central plain, the burden of silt 
becoming lighter and lighter as the wind moved westward. It 
was inevitable, therefore, that the deepest deposits of loess would 
be to the south-east of the Baltic, but that deposits might be found 
as far west as Normandy. 

Black Again, where the maximum southward extension of the ice 

Earth. (roughly 50° N.) left a series of lake-studded hills in latitudes 
where such an environment was very favourable to the growth of 
deciduous forests, dried humus was carried along with the glacier 
silt — to Russia, Hungary, and Rumania ; and this not only 
increased its fertility and its power of holding water, but gave it the 
dark colour to which it owes both its name of Black Earth and 
its power of attracting heat. On the north Alpine foreland, how- 
ever, such a clockwise movement of dry air could do little more 

IV Relief 25 

than carry the finer and more valuable material back up the slopes 
down which it had come, while summer rains could do little less 
than wash it away down stream. We recover some of it in the 
Rhine gorge ; but the morainic areas themselves have now typically 
poor and gravelly soil. 

The prominent influence of the Scandinavian Highlands, apart Scandi- 
from their age, is due to their area (nearly 200,000 square miles). ^^^^^ 
This is considerably more than double the area of the Alps ; and lands, 
the surface is so well adapted to holding snow that the Jostedalsbrae 
glacier has an area of 600 square miles. Farther north, where 
decreased height and decreased precipitation are balanced by higher 
latitude and northern exposure, the difference in climate is suggested 
by the name of the Svartisan (" Black Ice") glacier, which still has 
an area of 400 square miles. The lakes of the Swedo-Finnish 
peneplain are correspondingly large, and lie round the edge of it, 
as the Canadian lakes lie round the edge of the V-shaped archean 
nucleus of the Hudson Bay area. 

This Baltic edge is known as the glint line, and is due to the Baltic 
differential erosion of the archean rock and its neighbours ; but in S'^^®^"- 
the Swedish lake-land it is covered with fertile recent deposits, while 
in Finland and Olonetz the glacial action is glaringly obvious in the 
areas of thick boulder-clay, the incoherent river-systems, the bare 
and scratched rock-surface, the thousands of lakes in the hollows 
worn by the ice in the huge flat slabs of granitic rock of which the 
country essentially consists. On the inner edge of the glint line in 
the south the terminal moraines are similarly responsible for the 
lake-dotted Baltic Heights. 

The influence of the Ural system, though next in size to the The Urals. 
Scandinavian, has been less than that of any other mountain system 
in Europe. Indeed, it is only from the Asiatic side that they even 
look like mountains, although both on the mainland and in Novaya 
Zemlya they reach a height of 4000 to 5500 feet. But the fact 
that their steeper face is towards Asia, while their westward slope is 
so gentle that streams are navigable almost to their source, causes 
them to be an important climatic divide, — so much so that the 
ordinary European fruit trees, and such forest trees as oak and ash 
and elm, stop abruptly on their western slopes. They have also 
interesting climatic divisions from north to south, the northern 
section being mainly tundra and the southern being mainly steppe, 
while between the two the narrower and generally lower line is 
both " forested " and rich in minerals ; and, as the piedmont valleys 
are also very fertile on both sides of this central part of the range, 
this section of it has become very important, and the continental 
frontier has been moved eastwards to include the whole geographical 
unit of the Government of Perm. The natural depression of the 
Ufa valley, a branch of which forms the southern frontier of this 


The Continent of Europe 



and Cau- 


section, gives a line of least resistance for the railway from Ufa to 

The total area occupied by the Alps, Carpathians, and Pyrenees 
is scarcely greater than that of the Scandinavian Highlands alone ; 
but, instead of being a lonely block, this Mediterranean system is 
essentially part of the great line of young folded mountains which 
stretches from west to east of the Old. World, and played such an 
important part in the early distribution and specialisation of Man. 
Its influence has, however, been very different at different parts of 
the line ; for instance, within the nominal frontier of Europe the 
two terminal sections are widely different from the Alps. 

The essential difference can be almost summed up in the state- 
ment that the control exercised by the Pyrenees and the Caucasus 
is specifically of a sierra type. Both are markedly straight, adhering 
closely to the normal east-and-west " tetrahedral " line. Both have 
a narrow crystalline axis which causes them to maintain a great 
average height, the Roncesvalles Pass being about 4000 feet and 
the Col de la Perche well over 5000, while the Dariel is nearly 
8000, and the Marmison — between the headwaters of the important 
Rion and Terek basins — over 9000 ; and in each case the approach 
is complicated by the fact that on the gentler slope some of the 
highest summits stand well out from the main axis of the range, e.g. 
the extinct volcanoes of Elbruz and Kasbek on the north of the 
Caucasus, and Perdu and Maladetta (Nethou) on the south of the 
Pyrenees. In each case, too, more or less transverse spurs are so 
developed as to give a series of culs de sac of the "glacier-cut 
cauldron " type which is called a cirque ; and in the Pyrenean 
cirques the Christians held out against the Moslems in just the 
same way as, though with more success than, the Moslems held out 
against the Christians in the Caucasian cirques. To-day the 
Caucasus area contains representatives of very nearly every race 
and every language in Eurasia, and Andorra remains an independent 
republic in the Pyrenees. 

Both systems agree, too, in the historic accident of having been 
truncated so abruptly that even round their ends access is far from 
easy, though the line from Derbent to Baku has an easier route 
across the Apsheron peninsula than the western line has from 
Ekatorinodar to Novorossisk, as that from Perpignan to Barcelona 
via the Col de Perthus (800 feet) has an easier route than that 
from Bayonne to Pamplona. Catalan speech is almost pure 
Provencal, and the modern industries of Barcelona are largely 
Provencal in origin as well as in character. 

Further, the two systems agree even in their influence on the 
longitudinal movements of population ; for the easier access round 
the east end, which is partly due to the fact that both dissipate their 
energies eastward in developing width — in a double line — instead 

IV Relief 27 

of concentrating them on a single upward growth, led to the Pre- 
Roman and Pre-Russian populations moving westward for safety. 
This westward movement took them into a land of so much heavier 
rainfall that the soil on the southern exposure in the lee of the 
range is enormously productive and largely covered with forest. 
Thus, the western end of the Pyrenees has an " Atlantic " rainfall 
of 5 feet, while the eastern end has a " Mediterranean " fall of 
scarcely twice 5 inches. This is exactly paralleled in the Caucasus, 
but the forest growth is even denser, being almost jungle, partly 
because of the better shelter in the lee of the higher range, and 
partly because of the greater abundance of underground water. 

This, indeed, involves one of the few differences between the P3rreiieeB 
two systems. Both are curiously devoid of the lakes which are so ''• ^*'^^" 

. SUB. 

typical of glaciated areas, and are such a protection from floods on 
the lower land ; but, while the limestone in the Caucasus absorbs 
the precipitation and passes it on so evenly that not only is the 
range — so far as the limestones extend — forested to the very top, 
but also waterfalls are practically unknown, in the case of the 
Pyrenees the upper streams become so much involved in the longi- 
tudinal folds of the range that they can only escape at rare intervals, 
and then in the form of a cataract. This flows generally over the 
edge of a cirque, as at Gavarnie, where there is a fall of 1 5 1 5 feet. 

The total result is that — in spite of the typical sierra narrowness Cross 
of the ranges, — in spite of the high snow-line even on the northern Conimuni- 
slope (about 9000 feet), — in spite of the smallness of the glaciers, 
all the 900 in the Caucasus not having a larger total area than the 
Jostedalsbrae alone, — in spite of the fact than the Segre valley leads 
directly up to the Col de la Perche as that of the Terek does to 
the Dariel pass, — in spite of the fact that in other parts of the world 
railways use passes a mile higher than the Dariel and nearly two 
miles higher than the Col de la Perche — no railway has hitherto 
been built across either range. 

The old connection between the Pyrenees and the Caucasus has Fold 
been severed so sharply and in so many places that the comple- ^ap*- 
mentary areas of summer-rain and summer-drought in Europe have 
always had more or less easy intercourse, such as is most 
effective in the development of civilisation ; and both the gaps in, 
and the varied course of, the connecting uplift are due to the same 
cause — the superior toughness of the older foldings. These tough 
old blocks are really just the roots of the old mountain system ; and 
the pressure from the south which forced up the flexible young 
folds was never great enough to overcome the resistance of the 
older rock to the north. Thus, the abrupt truncation of the 
Pyrenees shows that the range once extended eastward ; but the 
tough, massive block of the " Cevennes " plateau kept it so far to the 
south that the eastward extension was involved in the subsidence 


The Continent of Europe 







of the western basin of the Mediterranean, and thus the Lower 
Rhone valley became the chief Hnk between central and southern 

To the east of the Cevennes plateau the absence of resistant 
rock allowed the young Alpine folds to make a marked bend north- 
wards ; but this was cut short by the tough " roots " of the Vosges 
and Black Forest blocks, and the Alpine extension was forced east- 
ward to the south of them. Once past this obstacle, another north- 
ward bend was inevitable under the constant pressure from the 
south, to be again cut short by the Bohemian plateau, which also 
forms part of these Variscan fragments, as they are called. Still the 
field was not clear, for the low platform of western Russia belongs 
to the same resistant series, and obstructs rather than guides the 
Alpine development, so that the Carpathian extension was forced to 
bend southward round the western scarp of the platform ; and a 
southward course was then maintained right up to the old block of 
which the Rhodope mountains are the chief relic. This again 
involved the eastward bend of the Balkans, which were abruptly cut 
short by the subsidence of the Black Sea, as the Pyrenees were by 
that of the western Mediterranean. 

Along the western edge of this " Rhodope " block, as along the 
eastern edge of the old Iberian meseta, the Alpine energy was able 
to escape ; and the Nevada-Atlas remains of this movement are 
looped up to the Alpine centre via the Balearic islands and the very 
young Apennines, as the Dinaric-Pindus remains of it are looped up 
via Crete and Cyprus and the Taurus to the Caucasus terminus. 

Where the earth's solid crust is formed of angular segments 
with great difference of level, as where the Calabrian and Tunisian 
upfolds converge on the abysses of the western and eastern basins 
of the Mediterranean, or where the Balkan and Anatolian segments 
converge between the abysses of the eastern basin of the Mediter- 
ranean and the Black Sea, there conditions are found favourable to 
the manifestation of volcanic and seismic phenomena. 

To the west of the Black Sea subsidence, as of the western basin 
of the Mediterranean, there is what may be called a reactionary 
westward loop of the main Alpine west-to-east line ; and at the 
critical point in the course, in each case, the loop was strained to 
breaking-point. Through the one gap the Danube gave a second 
great link between Southern and Central Europe, and through the 
other the Straits of Gibraltar gave Southern Europe access to the 

A short survey of the general line of the Alpine uplift suggests, 
then, that the widest development of the system will be found where 
the tough old blocks lie farthest north, and that within this wider 
area, i.e. the Alps proper, the folds will have a short northward and 
then a long eastward lie. Further, between the folds there are 




likely to be deep longitudinal valleys, which should form the main 
channels of the hydrographic system ; and where the back-pressure 
of the old rock to the eastward is felt, i.e. in the eastern half of the 
Alps, there is likely to be such dislocation of strata that " faults " 
may be more conspicuous than folds. 

Captain H. V. Knox has illustrated very simply the relation of Fold k, 
the Alps to the old blocks on the west and north. On a table Block, 
covered by a thick cloth lay two books in the relative positions 

shown in the accompanying Figure : 
"A" to represent the Cevennes 
and " B " the Bavaro-Bohemian 
block. Place the hands flat on 
the cloth at C, and push the cloth 
towards D ; it will at once ruck 
up into folds which are essentially 
similar to those of the Alps. 

These folds in the case of Internal 
the Alps are of different types of Divisions, 
rock, the two inner folds being of 
crystalline rock and the two outer 
being of sedimentary rock. The two lines of crystalline rock are 
separated by a belt of mixed rock representing the older divisions 
of geological time known as the Age of Fishes and the Age of 
Reptiles ; and farther to the west and north the rock is Mesozoic 
and Tertiary, representative of the Age of Reptiles and the Age of 
Mammals. We generally divide the surface of Switzerland, there- 
fore, into four belts running approximately S.W.— N.E., i.e. between 
Lake Geneva and Lake Constance, and separating typically Romance 
and Teutonic peoples with typically Roman Catholic and Protestant 
creeds. The southernmost belt is a double band of crystalline 
rock ; to the north and west of this comes a belt mainly of lime- 
stone ; this is followed by the sandstone plateau of the Aar basin, 
which rises to the limestone ridges and valleys of the Jura. 

In the inner crystalline belt we see the short northward lie in inner 
the Cottian and Graian Alps, and the long eastward lie in the Crystal- 
Graian, Pennine, and Lepontine Alps ; and the double-headed Dora ® 
Riparia separates the Cottian and Graian, serving the one by the 
Genevre Pass and the other by the Mont Cenis, as the double- 
headed Dora Baltea separates the Graian from the Pennine, serving 
the one by the Little St. Bernard Pass and the other by the Great 
St. Bernard, and as the double-headed Toce-Ticino separates the 
Pennine from the Lepontine, serving the one by the Simplon and 
the other by the St. Gothard. One of the trifles which are often so 
significant, because at first sight so immaterial, suggests a comiiient 
on the value of this double-headedness ; the junction of the two St. 
Bernard routes on the Italian side seemed to the Romans so 


The Continent of Europe 


important that they called their military depot at that point A^igitsta 
— the modern Aosta, 

Outer In the outer crystalline belt we see the short northward lie in 

CryBtal- the Pelvoux and Mont Blanc masses, and the long eastward lie in 

' the Bernese Oberland (crystalline only east of the Gemmi Pass) 

and the Alps of Glarus ; and the double-headed Isere separates the 

IV Relief 31 

Dauphine Alps from those of Savoy, the so-called " Mont Cenis " 
tunnel tapping its Arc tributary by burrowing under the Col 
de Frejus, while the sedimentary rocks along the whole northern 
face of the eastward lie have been eaten away to form the great 
longitudinal valley that is occupied up to the Furka-Pass divide 
by the Isere and the Upper Rhone, and down from the Furka by 
the Vorder Rhine and the Inn. On the sandstone plateau of the 
Aar basin glacial activity has left such typical morainic lakes as those 
of Geneva and Lucerne at the outer foot of the crystalline belt, and 
those of Neuchatel and Biel at the inner foot of the limestone Jura. 

The conditions emphasised so far are essentially those peculiar Eastern 
to the Western or Franco-Italian Alps and the Central or Italo-Swiss Alps. 
Alps ; and one fundamental distinction between these and the 
Eastern or Austro-Italian Alps is found in the fact that in the 
western and central sections there is really only one ridge to be 
crossed between the northern and southern plains, while in the 
eastern sections there are really three ridges, though the central one 
is of predominant difficulty. It is natural, therefore, that the 
eastern rivers should more often rise in glacial lakes, as in the case 
of the Inn and the Adda, while the western rivers should more 
often flow directly from the glaciers. Further, where maximum 
exposure to the north is combined with maximum access — up the 
great longitudinal valley — for the west winds, there we should find 
the greatest glaciation ; and it is only natural, therefore, that all the 
longest glaciers (Great Aletsch, the Unter-Aar, and the Fiescher) 
should be in the Bernese Oberland. 

Now, though it is contrary to nature that a crystalline crest Passes 
should be easily worn down, — as witness the great snow-dome of 
Mont Blanc, the buttressed wall of Monte Rosa, the square pyramid 
of the Matterhorn, the triangular pyramid of the Weisshorn, — the 
normal activity of glaciers intermediate in character between the 
dry rigidity of the tropics and the constant fluidity of the Polar 
regions, can easily pare away the sides of a crystalline range, 
especially towards its ends. And it was the thinness of the ends of 
the inner crystalline range that favoured the cutting of tunnels under 
the Simplon and the St. Gothard to replace the carriage roads which 
go over them at heights of just under 6600 feet and just over 6900. 
The Simplon tunnel, though the longest (over 1 2 miles), has the 
easiest gradient ; but the route in olden days involved too great a 
detour between North and South, and was therefore less used than 
the St. Gothard and the Brenner routes, which — like the Mont 
Cenis and Great St. Bernard — have been in constant use for 2000 
years. The most significant comment on the character of a 
transverse section of the Simplon route and on the imperative 
necessity of avoiding a detour is offered, perhaps, by the fact that 
the success of the Simplon tunnel has absolutely necessitated its 


The Continent of Europe 



practical continuation (in the Lotschberg tunnel, 9 miles), so as to 
shorten the route between London and Genoa by three hours. 

Another effect of the old glaciation, almost equally important in 
facilitating communication, is the arrangement of all the typically 
U-shaped valleys in steps with broad floors. In the side valleys 


. Swiss tunnels. 

these steps down from the overhanging lip of the valley are usually 
marked by magnificent waterfalls, which in modern times are a 
great source of ** power " ; and above the lip is a bench or platform 
on which fine glacial silt makes a peculiarly fertile soil easily 
irrigated from the still existing glaciers. This is the real alp, where 
the altitude forbids any vegetation except of a lowly kind, but 
makes this — on the " loess " — of the finest possible character as food 
for cows. Similar alp pastures occur on the steps in the main 
valley, thus minimising or localising the difficulties of the ascent, 




and providing natural facilities for the presence of houses and 
supplies of food. 

The origin of these discordances, or steps, is fully dealt with in Protection 
Professor Garwood's article on the Protective Action of Ice ; ^ but °^ ^**' 
their ultimate economic importance is connected with the fact that 
they represent an old overflow of ice from an intermont basin or 
valley, in the course of which the sides of the basin or valley were 
so cut down that steps on opposite sides of the range were frequently 
joined by a double glacier-cut gateway or pass. 

The St. Gothard focus deserves a little more attention because St. 
of its relation to the whole river-system. The chief rivers of the ^^l^^xd. 
area follow the west-and-east valleys, but their regime has enabled 

Swiss river-system. 

them to cut back their heads to such an extent that the Rhone and 
the Rhine have now reached opposite sides of the St. Gothard mass. 
At the same time rivers are naturally thrown off northward and 
southward from the main east-and-west axis of the system, e.g. the 
Ticino and Reuss ; and this tendency affects even the great 
longitudinal rivers directly they come between strata of different 
resistance, so that the crystalline mass of Mont Blanc diverts the 
Rhone across the softer limestone into Lake Geneva, as the Rhine 
crosses it into Lake Constance. 

The four rivers in question have now cut back their valleys to 
the common centre of the St. Gothard, which has much the 
heaviest rainfall in Switzerland (over 80 inches). The economic 
importance of this is obvious ; and its political importance may be 

^ Cf. R.G.S. Journal, September 19 10. 



The Continent of Europe 


gauged from the choice of Andermatt, at the crossing of the Furka 

and St, Gothard roads, for a divisional head-quarters of the Swiss 


Jura. With increase of distance from the source of pressure in the 

south-east there is a decrease of both energy and complexity ; and 

in the extreme north-west the Jura present a profound simplicity, 

being just a score of parallel folds, every upfold being a ridge and 

every downfold a valley. This has materially hampered transverse 

traffic, though the elevation nowhere reaches 6000 feet ; and there 

is still need of some miles of tunnelling to "join up" the shortest 

route between Calais and the Lotschberg, and avoid the detour 

through the Weissenstein tunnel. 

Eastern A great contrast to the simplicity of this Franco-Swiss section is 

^P^- offered by the Austro-Italian Alps to eastward of the great transverse 

Typical piece of Jura. 

depression marked by the middle courses of the Inn and the Adige, 
linked by the Brenner Pass (4470 feet). The feature-lines still run 
roughly east and west ; the predominant line is still crystalline ; and 
it is still flanked by a longitudinal, river-threaded depression. But 
the energy, instead of being concentrated, is dissipated in a fan-like 
expansion which is more pronounced than even that of the eastern 
Pyrenees and eastern Caucasus, and which more than doubles the 
breadth of the effective barrier ; this is naturally accompanied by 
such a decrease in height that even the crystalline High Tauem 
scarcely reaches 12,500 in the Gross Glockner; and the medley of 
faults and fractures has greatly complicated the river-system, as the 
number of comparatively small peaks complicates the foregrounds 
in the ordinary summit views. 

On the other hand, physical and climatic conditions are not un- 

IV Relief 35 

favourable to movement whether human or atmospheric (cf. p. 57). The 
The furrow along the northern foot of the crystalline axis gives at Brenner, 
least 250 miles of comparatively easy railway route between the 
Arlberg Tunnel and the Schober ; the somewhat similar " Puster 
Dal-Drave-Mur " furrow to the south of the Tauern axis gives 
200 miles of good rail up to the Semmering, getting the through 
traffic from Aalberg to Vienna by the easy route round the Eisenerz 
(" Iron-ore ") Alps to the great steel-working junction of Leoben. 
Both these routes are, of course, tapped by the great transverse 
route through the Brenner, which owes much of its supreme im- 
portance to its character as a " saddle," — bridging the broad double 
line of the central Alps, and so giving a single pass across a two- 
fold barrier, — but part of its importance to climatic causes. It is so 
low and so far from the Atlantic, and so much cut off from the wet 
winds by the loftiest region of the central Alps, the Bernina and 
Ortler groups, that the precipitation is exceptionally light, with 
consequently a relative freedom from snow impediments and 
avalanche dangers. Its importance may be gauged from the 
number of well-known passes which tap it, e.g. the Julier and Albula, 
the Maloja and Bernina, the Stelvio and the Reschen-Scheideyck, 
all carrying carriage roads. 

Incidentally, too, the great valley has acquired importance from 
the ease with which it gives access to some of the most varied and 
beautiful types of Alpine scenery, e.g. bringing the wide lake-dotted 
floor of the Engadine into close relation with the atmospheric 
colour of the Dolomite pinnacles, the magnesian limestone having 
a typically pearly or vitreous lustre with under-colours of red, brown, 
green, grey, and even black, and weathering differentially into most 
fantastic forms. The effect is accentuated by the differential 
fertility of the soft marl that is found alongside the hard dolomite. 

The Carpathians repeat some of the typical phenomena of the Car- 
Alps, but generally on a much smaller scale. For instance, the patl^iajis. 
main crystalline axis is discontinuous, appearing in the Little 
Carpathians, Tatra, Central Carpathians, and Transylvanian Alps, 
while the continuous outer sedimentary folds resemble those of the 
Jura, and the inner belt is largely volcanic. This last is the one 
point on which the Carpathians repeat Alpine features on a larger 
scale, for the volcanic belt which surrounds the south of the twin 
crystalline ranges of the Tatra, and accounts for the mineral wealth 
of the Gran basin, is much more extensive than that which skirts the 
south of the Venetian Alps, where the intrusion of the volcanic is 
into sedimentary rock, and so naturally does not lead to any great 
mineral wealth. 

The chief points in which the Carpathians differ from the Alps Alps k. 
are three in number. In the first place, their greatest width ^^'. 
corresponds with their greatest height, the High Tatra reaching 

36 The Continent of Europe en. 

nearly 9000 feet in Franz Josef, and the Transylvanian Alps reach- 
ing well over 8000 in Bucsecs, Mandra, and Negoi. Again, unlike 
the rest of this Alpine system, on both sides and in all directions 
they abut more or less immediately on fertile lowlands, so that the 
position and height and climate of any passes became of great 
importance in very early times. Above all, owing to their relative 
lowness and to their distance from the Atlantic, they lack the 
magnificent scenery which is typically connected with glaciation, 
huge snow-fields and glaciers, bold peaks and high waterfalls being 
alike absenj, while the typical Alpine lakes are replaced by the 
water-filled " cups " of the Tatra granite. Only in the beauty of the 
volcanic Matra group and in the grandeur of the granite Tatra can 
the Carpathians at all rival the Alps. 
PasBes. The outer sedimentary zone, which forms the natural frontier of 

Hungary, though essentially continuous, throws off so many rivers 
in opposite directions to the lowland on each side that the range is 
passable at almost every point where two of these rivers diverge 
from the same part of the divide, e.g. the Gran and Poprad, the 
Vecsa and Opor, {i.e. practically the Vereczke Pass or "Magyar 
Gate "), the Theiss and Pruth (the Koros-mezo or " Tatar Gate "), 
and the Szamos and Goldene-Bistritz. In the extreme north-west 
the famous Jablunka (" Apple Tree ") Pass leads down the Olsa 
valley to the Oder, as in the extreme south-east the Tomos Pass 
leads down the Prahova valley, and the Roteturm (" Red Tower ") 
leads down the Aluta valley, to the Danube. Eastward from the 
" Apple Tree " Pass the climate of the sedimentary zone becomes 
more and more favourable to tree-growth. The- monotonous sand- 
stone of the East Beskids is redeemed by a covering of extensive 
forest ; and it merges in the Carpathian Forest, the north-western 
buttress of Bukowina (Beech-Land), where the beech is the typical 
tree up to a height of 4000 feet. 
The The rest of the continent may be roughly described as consist- 

Plains, ing of 2,000,000 square miles of plain, with great variety of soil 
and considerable variety of climate. The centre and eastern areas 
of the " plain " are so level that it is possible to travel by rail from 
Cologne to the Urals without going through a single tunnel ; and 
in the more backward eastern parts this has given exceptional value 
to the rivers for navigation in the summer and sledge-transport in 
the winter. The western half is undulating, but the higher standard 
of civilisation has included extraordinary progress in the art of 

There are areas along the North Sea and the Caspian which are 
below sea-level ; but in the one case they have been reclaimed by 
the energy of the Dutch, and are protected by granite dykes where 
the natural sand-dunes of the low and windy coast are not continuous, 
while in the other they are due to the natural sinking of the Caspian. 

IV Relief 37 

The most valuable units are the Magyar Alfold, which was a sea in 
such recent ages that Transylvania is still rich in sea-flora, and 
small areas drained by man, such as the bed of Lake Copais and 
much of Italy. The draining of the Pripet-Beresina marshes in 
Russia, when completed, will add fully 20,000 square miles of 
valuable agricultural land and greatly facilitate traffic, though it 
must decrease the strategic value of this " rampart of White Russia." 

The most important feature in the distribution of this vast area Plain k. 
of plain is that its relation to the highlands has in no way deprived ?^^' 
it of its essential character as a piece of Atlantic hinterland. For 
the distribution of the highlands puts no serious obstacle to access — 
climatic and commercial — to and from the great ocean, while the 
character of the highlands minimises the obstacle to communica- 
tion between the northern and southern units of the continent. 

At the same time the intervening nucleus of ancient rock has 
special economic importance because of its characteristic richness 
in deposits of metal, particularly round the edge, and because of 
its equally characteristic relation to beds of coal in the younger 
strata that flank it ; and, of course, where the metal and the fuel 
are adjacent, as at Creuzot and Libge, great metallurgical centres 
were almost bound to spring up. 

Three of the geological factors involved have a geographical Line of 
significance. The scarp, as the actual line of cleavage, marks the Maximum 
line of maximum disturbance ; and such disturbance has a definite j^gg_ 
relation to the distribution of mineral wealth and to the develop- 
ment of natural depressions such as offer " lines of least resistance " 
for human movement, e.g. the Sambre-Maas valley. Moreover, a 
normal scarp gives, so to say, a section which betrays the contents 
of the whole block. 

But these old blocks are themselves only fragments of a great Residual 
mountain system which has been weathered down in the course of ^ st- 
ages into a peneplain; and in this process any residual products 
must include the heaviest elements in the original mass, i.e. the 
metals. These have not only survived because most difficult to 
transport, but they have also been concentrated ; and they are 
naturally most abundant in the outlying parts of the existing core. 
Thus, iron and lead, copper and zinc, are found in the scarp above 
the Sambre-Maas gorge. 

Still more important is the fact that nearly all these deposits Subter- 
of metal are the result of igneous or aqueous activity, the scattered ranean 
atoms having been first fused or dissolved at considerable depths, ^"°?^- 
then transported to levels of lower temperature and lower pressure 
nearer the surface, and eventually deposited in cavities at no very 
great depth below that surface, because such cavities can exist only 
where there is no very great pressure. It is only by a strong, local, 
exceptional agent, e.g. working chemically by heat and mechanically 

38 The Continent of Europe ch. iv 

by movement, that the earth's crust could have been, and still can 
be, drained of the metals that form such a tiny portion of it ; for — 
apart from aluminium, which forms about 8 p.c. of the crust, and 
iron, which forms about 4 p.c. — no other metal seems to form more 
than 0.07 p.c. (manganese). 
Solvent Most of the metal deposits of Europe have been precipitated 

Power. from aqueous solutions ; and — however strictly meteoric water may 
be distinguished in theory from magmatic water — it is certain that 
the deep waters get some of their solvent power from carbonic 
acid, and that this must have been communicated to the superficial 
waters — and then passed on by them — from the decayed vegetation 
through which they percolated. Moreover, it is obvious that the 
mechanical erosion and the chemical corrosion of subterranean 
water depend largely on the pressure and the temperature, i.e. 
ultimately on the depth ; and that, as the water cools and so loses 
its power to solve, it loses also its power to rise, to erode, and to 
carry. Consequently, as the hot spring rises by a " line of least 
resistance," e.g. a fault fissure — such as is quite obvious at 
Aix-la-Chapelle, where the " waters " (Aix = aqucB) still have a 
temperature of from 110° F. to 136° F. — approach to the surface 
must involve first mineralisation of the transported elements and 
then deposition of them. 
Deposi- Where this final part of the journey is through porous rock, 

'^°°- e.g. the sandstone between Aix and Bonn, the metal may be 

distributed all through the strata ; where it is through very soluble 
rock, e.g. the limestone between Aix and Libge, it may be massed 
in a *' cave " dissolved in the rock. But the essential facts are 
that heat and pressure favour' solution, while decrease of either — 
still more of both — favours precipitation. The peneplain is the 
base of the old mass ; and the scarp not only gives a section of 
the contents, but is also the place where we expect to find both 
the residual metals from the higher levels of that old mass and the 
fault fissures which give the easiest line of exit for the subterranean 



(i) Of Land Communications. 

The distribution of the chief features of relief is as favourable to indirect 
communication by land, both directly and indirectly, as to com- Influence, 
munication by sea. The indirect influence is based mainly on the 
concentration of great variety of relief within small area, and the 
consequent variety of economic development. For each natural unit 
of relief has its own natural product — plant, and beast, and man ; 
and, in eacli, life has depended on response to the prevailing control. 

In the case of man, necessaries of sustenance in any of these Occupa- 
areas have involved certain occupations, e.g. pastoral, involving tional 
daily care of animals that must be milked at regular times, or 
agricultural, in which there may be a rush of work followed by a 
spell of holiday. Such occupations perpetuated through generations 
develop certain fixed habits, which crystallise into definite character- 
istics, e.g. a power of continuous application or a gift for almost 
superhuman effort on an emergency ; and these express themselves 
in social and political institutions, as when mere babes in Cornwall 
show, in their play, a power of controlling a gutter-torrent which 
only grows out of centuries of mining experience, or when con- 
stitutional government seems everywhere to have grown out of the 
domestic organisation of a fishing race. Cf. p. 12. 

The close proximity of different economic types, then, must Supple- 
have led in very early times to constant intercourse, to exchange mentary 
of products (barter) and ideas, and so to the development of Typeg. 
facilities for such exchange. And the position has been emphasised 
by the fact that the whole continent may be roughly divided into 
two supplementary areas, one of summer-rain apH ^he other of 
summer-drought, with corresponding needs and products. ^ 

The direct influence of the relief control is also best seen in a Direc ' 
comparison of the two areas, for the area of summer-rain includes Influence, 
practically the whole plain of Europe, while that of summer-drought 
consists largely of mountainous peninsulas. 



The Continent of Europe 



The essential significance of the great east and west plain is 
implied in the statement, that it is possible to travel by rail from the 
extreme south-west of France, via Paris and Berlin, to the extreme 
north-east of Russia without going through a single tunnel and 
without ever being 600 feet above the sea. And it is precisely 

this fundamental fact that makes comparisons between Central 
Europe ana J^ngi^..^ often so absurd. For instance, the nationalisa- 
tion and reconstruction of our canal system have been strongly 
recommended to the English public by utterly misleading statistics 
drawn from Holland and Germany. The Daily Chronicle pointed out 
that the Aire and Calder Canal " could be made fit for all necessary 

V Relief Control 41 

traffic at a cost of ^^i, 000,000 per 100 miles"; and statistics 
were quoted from the canal traffic between Berlin and Hamburg. 
But the Aire and Calder Canal is the levelest canal in England, and 
the access to fuel and water make it the cheapest to work ; and, 
while there are only 3 locks in the 230 miles between Berlin and 
Hamburg, the average in England is i lock for every 1200 yards. 

From the Franco - Spanish frontier at Hendaye, where the East-and- 
Spanish 66-inch gauge stops, a uniform 56|-inch gauge con- ^®8* 
tinues as far as Warsaw, where the Russian 60-inch gauge begins ; ^ ' 

and the line of through communication between, e.g. Bordeaux 
and Warsaw, offers a significant comment on the relief and on its 
relations to historic movements of people. By the gap of Charente 
and the gap of Poitou, along the northern foot of the Ardennes 
and of tlie Westphalian Highlands, crossing the Seine at the Isle 
of Paris and the Elbe at the Isle of Magdeburg, it follows the 
line of least resistance which, just because it is that, is marked 
by a series of great towns. Thus the line of least resistance comes 
to be the line of most utility. 

Every one of the important rivers crossed on this route is Rivera of 
navigable so far as relief is concerned. Thus, the Loire is naturally Plaui- 
navigable far above Orleans, though its variation in volume, and the 
power of the flood from the crystalline upper part of the basin to 
choke up the lower course by debris torn from the Tertiary strata 
in its middle course, have forced regular navigation on to lateral 
canals; the Seine has a minimum depth of 10 feet up to Paris, 
220 miles from the English Channel; ocean steamers ply regularly 
to the great junction of Cologne ; the Weser is navigable to above 
the Westphalian Gate, near Minden ; and all the other rivers crossed 
are navigable to above the German frontier. The alternative route 
through Brussels and Hanover is based on historic rather than 
physical considerations, but its ease may be gauged from the route 
of the great east-and-west canal system of Germany. 

The great foci of this west-and-east belt of rail are Paris, Berlin, Cross 
and Warsaw ; and it is important to notice their relation respectively Distances, 
to the shortest distances across the continent from north to south. 
Obviously, these cross routes join the Baltic to the Black Sea and 
the Adriatic, and the North Sea to the Adriatic and the Lion-Genoa 
Gulf. And political considerations encourage duplicate routes. 
Thus, the direct distance from Odessa to Danzig is practically the 
same (750 miles) as to Riga ; but the Dniester valley leads to a 
route that is largely Teutonic, while the Bug valley gives easier 
gradients through one that is wholly Slav. Again, the direct distance 
from Stettin to Trieste is only 550 miles, while that from Lubeck 
to Venice is 650; but the detours necessary on the more easterly 
route make both routes actually the same distance (850), and the 
gradients from Germany into Austria by the Moravian Gate are 


The Continent of Europe 


easier — and therefore strategically more dangerous — than those by 
the shorter Saxon Gate route, and the Brenner Pass was really 
easier than the Semmering. From the Narrow Seas the competition, 
both political and economic, is still more severe ; and this gives 
special advantage to the route between Calais and Marseilles via 
the Rhone valley, which is both the shortest (not much more than 
700 miles of rail) and all French. On the other hand, the fact 
that Antwerp can approach the St. Gothard tunnel best via the 

West of Greenwich East of Greenwich 

Stanford^ Geog! CstabT^ londorh 

Simple relief of France. 


Rhine valley minimises the loo and odd miles of extra rail from 
Hamburg on the journey to Genoa, making Genoa almost an 
outport of Frankfort-on-Main. 

The chief cross routes, except the low 300-mile railway between 
Bordeaux and Cette, utilise the same lines of least resistance. 
The Orient express route to Constantinople threads the middle 
basins of both Rhine and Danube, again making Frankfort im- 
portant. In the west the parallel " Suez " route threads the Seine 
and the Upper Rhone basins. To the east parallel routes join 
Hamburg to Odessa by the Oder valley outside the Carpathians, via 

V Relief Control 43 

Berlin, Breslau, and Cracow, and Bremen to Constantinople by the 
Elbe valley inside the Carpathians, 77a Dresden, Vienna, and Belgrade. 

Obviously, the shape of the continent makes the saving of Rail v. 
distance by rail over that by sea so great towards the east, saving Sea. 
4000 miles between Riga and Odessa, that even very inferior 
services by rail can still command the traffic ; but in the west the 
saving is comparatively so small that the service must be good to 
attract the traffic in anything except mails and passengers. As far 
as World traffic is concerned, this is emphasised by the high dues 
on the Suez Canal, which are calculated to be equivalent — for 
ordinary freight — to at least 1000 miles of detour; and, on the 
other hand, uniformity of gauge has almost obviated break-of-bulk 
by rail, so that even in this respect sea-transport is losing its chief 
advantage for long-distance work. For instance, during mid-winter 
cauliflowers come into Covent Garden from Naples without break- 
of-bulk, the result being that they can be sold wholesale at about 
ten-pence per dozen ! 

The position of inland waterways is little better, even in Canal 
countries so favourable to inland navigation as France and Germany. Water 
For obviously the size of a lock varies with the water-supply, and "^^ ^' 
the demands on the available amount are growing rapidly. In 
France, for instance, about 25 per cent of the total population is 
urban, and about 2 5 per cent of all the " power " used in mechanical 
industry is water-power. In Germany the urban population is 
nearly 30 per cent of the whole, and water-power is responsible 
for about 20 per cent of the total power. The demand for water 
is, therefore, increasing most in precisely those centres which the 
canals would feed. In other respects, too, canals are losing ground 
in the face of modern conditions and methods of carrying on trade. 
They are too cumbrous and immobile, especially in the matter of 
terminal accommodation ; it is difficult to maintain on them either 
speed or punctuality; and the modern trader prefers a quick sale 
of small lots to the warehousing of a quantity for a considerable 
time. In this connection, it may be noted that in the United States 
by 19 10 more than 2000 miles of the older canals had been 
actually abandoned. Cf. p. 212. 

Two qualifications must be added. Where relief, as in P'rance, Link 
guarantees a reliable rainfall in the upper basins of rivers that are Canals, 
navigable for a large proportion of their total length, there canals 
may be most useful in joining the head-waters of such rivers. Thus 
the navigable Saone is joined to the Loire via St. Etienne and to the 
Yonne via Dijon; France has over 5000 miles of navigable river 
thus joined by 2000 miles of canal. Similarly, the five chief rivers 
in Germany supply 5000 miles of navigation, linked by 1500 miles 
of canal. 

The other qualification is in regard to ship-canals, such as the 


The Continent of Europe 




Manchester and Kiel canals. Such canals are essentially short 
links of deep water, either joining two neighbouring seas or extend- 
ing one sea inland. The Manchester Canal extends sea-traffic 35 
miles inland and has a depth of 28 feet; the Kiel Canal crosses 
the 60 miles between the North Sea and the Baltic with a minimum 
depth of about 30 feet, saving two days on the sea-route between 
Kiel and Briinsbiittel. 

These great thoroughfares illustrate the permanence of relief 
control, for they were the scenes of great movements of people in 










The Kiel and Hanover Canals. 

early historic ages, as they have been of rail and canal development 
in modern times. Apart from the evidence that prehistoric man 
had settled on the loess near Krems and on the Neusiedler See, 
the Danube was the most important of the early thoroughfares, 
because it essentially links Europe to Asia. Huns and Avars, Slavs 
and Magyars, followed it westward ; Carlovingians and Bavarians, 
Crusaders and Habsburgs, followed it eastward. Indeed, the 
number of sanctuaries that line its Roman bank shows how im- 
portant a route it was from the days when, like the Rhine, it 
formed part of the great Roman frontier against the Barbarians. 
The sites of Blenheim and Traunbruck, Wagram and Mohacs, give 

VI Relief Control 45 

similar testimony. In fact, as was pointed out long ago, it was 
precisely the constant use of the valley as a line of passage that 
made it unsuitable for a political frontier ; so that, while its chief 
Alpine tributaries are peculiarly prominent as frontiers — e.g. the 
Iller between Wlirtemberg and Bavaria, the Inn between Bavaria 
and Austria, the Enns between Upper and Lower Austria, the 
Leitha between Lower Austria and Hungary, the Drave between 
Hungary and Slavonia, the Save between Slavonia and Servia — the 
main stream makes a great central line of attraction to which 
human activities gravitate, in HohenzoUern and Wiirtemberg, 
Bavaria and Austria-Hungary ; and on it now stand no less than 
three political capitals. 

The valley of the Rhine, before the river became the Roman Rhine 
frontier, had been a great funnel for Celtic and Teutonic move- ^'^*®' 
ments ; and the Romans, as Mr. Mackinder says, bequeathed to the 
French the theory that it was the natural frontier of France, and so 
laid the foundation of its political importance during the last looo 
years. That importance is largely summed up in the history of 
the strategic centres, e.g. Basel and Strassburg, Mainz and Coblenz, 
which mark the essentially Roman or Franco-German part of the 
river. Charlemagne's choice of Aix-la-Chapelle as his great centre 
was almost a forecast of the series of battlefields that would mark 
the line of least resistance between the Latin West and Teutonic 
East below the northern foot of the Ardennes, and of the commercial 
struggles between Rotterdam and Antwerp for the hinterland of 

The Rhone valley was still more important in the early develop- Rhone 
ment of Europe ; and the Burgundy Gate played, in the earlier ^*"**® 
struggles between France and Germany, the part played by the 
Lorraine Gate in modern times. On this the rivalry of Dijon and 
Aries, as the shape of the old Kingdom of Lothaire and Duchy 
of Burgundy, is a significant comment. And that the Ebro valley 
had a similar importance in Spain may be inferred from the fact 
that the river gave its name to the whole Iberian peninsula. 



(2) Of Distribution of Population. 

Relief control of human activities rests on the relation between the 
origin and the character of the relief. It is in the Danube valley 
that the earliest remains of Man in Central Europe have been 
found, and they were found in loess. 


The Continent of Europe 



The " Mark of the Beast " is a very good high land-mark and 
low water-mark in the development of life ; for the oldest forms of 

life seem to have been of marine origin and to have originated in 
depths less than about 666 feet, while the great development of 
land fauna has been confined to altitudes less than about 666 feet. 

VI Relief Control 47 

It at once becomes significant that three-quarters of the total area 
of Europe may be classified as plain, and that even Supan estimated 
the average elevation of the whole as under looo feet, while 
Humboldt estimated it as only 675 feet. The climatic control implied 
in this, we may discuss elsewhere (cf. ch. viii.) ; but the relief control 
may be so far dissociated from the climatic control as to allow us 
to trace a foundation for the relation, e.g. of the savage European 
to mountain and plain, and of the civilised European to coal 
and iron. 

The general level of the continent being favourable for the Early 
development of plant and beast life implied, considering the latitude, Mammals, 
a minimum difficulty in Man's hunt for food ; and this was further 
facilitated by the fact that the glaciation of the area had decimated 
the larger beasts, i.e. those usually most dangerous to Man. Under 
favourable conditions, then, large beasts would have monopolised 
the food supplies, but under unfavourable conditions they suffered 
most ; for a small diminution of supply pinched them soonest, and 
their relatively small numbers — implying that they were unprolific 
because voracious — minimised the chance of their occasional 
progeny including any " freaks," whose modified structure would 
enable them to survive under the changed conditions. Cf. p. 76. 

Over this vast plain the soil is almost everywhere not of local SoU. 
origin ; it was brought to its present location by ice or rivers. The 
maximum extension of the ice covered nearly all the great plain 
except in France, and the debris carried by it was deposited in 
various forms — e.g. sheets of clay, layers of sand, piles of gravel, the 
heaviest material being deposited nearest to the centre from which 
the ice-sheet radiated (cf. p. 3). The glacial clay is naturally 
heavy and impervious, hard to cultivate and water-logged, and 
produces little but humble peat-producing vegetation ; so that areas 
of this kind did not favour dense populations. The sand and gravel 
are light and dry, but are neither rich in plant food nor tenacious 
of water ; so that hills of this coarse material would produce little 
but conifers. But clay flats might lie in the lee of limestone hills, 
from which the solvent lime might be torn by the ice itself or might 
gravitate after ordinary weathering ; and this at once would make 
the clay fertile and porous. Or river-floods might spread rich and 
easily worked alluvium over the clay flats, and the river-valley was 
certain to attract an early population. 

As the maximum effects of the glaciation were towards the Nordic 
north-west, that area would be longest in becoming habitable — Bace- 
except so far as the land-waste encouraged a most prolific abundance 
of food-fishes, as illustrated by the superabundance of " fish " 
remains in the kitchen-middens, e.g. of Denmark ; and, on the other 
hand, a glance at a geological map will show how the distribution 
of " limestone " ridges and rims, e.g. in Denmark, Scania, and 


The Continent of Europe 



Central Europe, was bound to quicken human settlement below and 
within them, and how the variety of rock generally was bound to 
yield a strong blended soil to the various lowlands and basins. On 
the more fertile parts of this central plain, especially on the patches 
of loess (cf. p. 24), the Nordic race attained its essential character; 
and, as it developed and became largely urban in habit, the less 
fertile and more intractable areas were taken in hand, e.g. marshes 
drained and dense clay rendered pervious by lime and stable 
manure and other solvents, until the whole plain has been made 
fertile artificially. 

South of the young Alpine system, where the Mediterranean race 

Racial Europe. 

Stanford's Ceogf iitabl, London. 

found its area of characterisation, conditions were very different. 
The absence of glaciation and the smallness of the river-basins make 
the soil essentially residual and local ; the variety of rock and the 
widespread presence of limestone guaranteed fertility, while heavy 
weathering guaranteed depth. This was increased by the amount 
of alluvium, for the long dry summer involves heavy weathering, 
and so prepares abundance of loose material for the autumn floods 
to transport down the yellow Tiber and many another river. Indeed, 
when Olympia was unearthed, at the expense of the German 
Government, thirty years ago, it was found to have been buried, 
not under a vast volcanic outflow, but under terraces of river-borne 
mud ! Again, the Alpine uplift guaranteed both shelter and un- 

VI Relief Control ■ 49 

failing supplies of water. These conditions were very favourable to 
early Man, and suited his primitive implements ; but they had their 
drawbacks. The local soil has not the " strength " of the intractable 
glacial blend — so that it wears out more quickly ; and the local race 
has not the Nordic tolerance of cold ahd relative immunity from 
lung disease. If the Mediterranean race spread to higher latitudes, 
therefore, it could only be by creeping along the mild coast-lands of 
the Atlantic ; and the progressive deterioration of the local soil 
would mean a relative, if not an actual, decrease in the economic 
importance of the area. Such deterioration, too, if and when 
matured, might be reflected in the condition of the cultivators 

Between the Nordic plain and the Mediterranean peninsulas lies Alpine 
the zone of ancient crystalline cores on which the Alpine Round- ^ace- 
heads found a congenial home. These crystalline rocks are rich in 
metals, but naturally poor in organic materials ; and their wealth of 
metal occurs along the fractured scarps rather than on the core, i.e. 
along the " shores " of the primary axial peninsula of Europe, 
brought there by hot springs in working their way out from great 
depths by lines of least resistance. The heat to which these springs 
owe their actual existence, enables them also to transport many 
minerals which would be quite insoluble in cold water ; but, as 
we have seen, any lowering of temperature tends to arrest the 
ascending current and destroy its chemical or corrosive power. 
Such lowering of temperature may be found in a subterranean 
fissure or cave ; it must be found near the surface of the earth and 
on approach to the outside air. In either case precipitation begins, 
and the mineral is deposited in loco (cf. pp. 37, 38). 

Further, when such a mineral-filled fissure is actually exposed Location 
on the scarp of a fractured block, i.e. a line where resistance has 0^. 
obviously been strained to breaking point, differential weathering "^^'^^ ^• 
will almost certainly follow, with the result that the lode will show 
as a ridge or a trough. In other words, the mineral is not only 
most abundant where it is most accessible, but also is so situated 
as naturally to attract attention. Thus, few useful metals are found 
even in the crystalline part of the Young Folded Mountains, for their 
thinness and their physical history are not favourable ; but nearly 
all the useful metals are found in the rims of the old blocks, 
especially in Central Europe. For instance, the scarp of the 
meseta yields mercury near Almaden, lead near Linares, copper at 
Rio Tinto, tin in Galicia, and zinc in the Basque Provinces ; lead 
and copper occur in Brittany and round the central plateau in 
France ; zinc, lead, and tin are found on the north-west and the 
north-east of the Variscan fragments. 

Geologically nearest to these old metalliferous rocks in time and Coal and 
place are the old sedimentary rocks that contain salt and coal, and ^*^*- 



The Continent of Europe ch. vi 

ity of 

Density of 

iron is often associated with the coal. Salt is worked in Catalonia, 
near Nancy, at Stassfurt and Spessart, at Wieliczka and Salzburg — 
in each case in the " lee " of Variscan fragments. The coal has 
similar associations, e.g. in the Asturias, in the Upper Loire basin, 
in the valleys of the Meuse and Ruhr, on both sides of the Erz and 
of the Riesengebirge, and along the eastern edge of the Russian 
platform (cf. p. 28). And in each case valuable deposits of iron 
were within easy access of the coal. 

Special importance should be found to attach to areas where 
tongues of the fertile plain intrude into the carboniferous basins that 
flank the metal-bearing fragments, e.g. in Rhine-land ; and the 
working of the coal and the subsequent industrial developments 
could not cause in such old agricultural areas the dislocation of 
population and the transference of political power that were associ- 
ated with the Industrial Revolution in England. Such conditions 
supply the best possible guarantee of stability and prosperity to any 
new industry naturally evolved on the spot and gradually replacing 
the old one. The modern supremacy of Birmingham and Sheffield 
in the hardware industry is due to somewhat similar conditions of 
Geographical momentum, except that in their case the iron industry 
was present in very early days. 

Marshy lowlands in the latitude of the North European plain 
must naturally be forested — a condition adverse to density of 
population, though probably favourable to the development of fine 
physique in the individual (cf. p. 10); and primitive Man in 
temperate forests supported life by hunting and fishing — occupations 
adverse to density of population. Practically, therefore, relief 
control was more adverse to dense population in Cis-Alpine 
Europe than in the Mediterranean basin ; and it was equally adverse 
to movements of population except where climatic control was 
responsible for vast grass-lands in the eastern parts of the plain, or 
along the bridge of old blocks between the grass-land and the 
Alpine wall. At the same time, these conditions, so adverse to 
early Man, are precisely those which have now given Cis-Alpine 
Europe supremacy over Southern Europe. 



Europe occupies an essentially transitional position — between the Transi- 

vastest land mass in the World and one of the largest oceans, and *^°^ Area. 

between the Trades and the Anti-Trades. This, as we have noticed 

(cf. p. 3), was one of the great features of the area that were 

favourable to the progress of early Man ; and its influence is 

essentially climatic. No equal area in similar latitudes elsewhere 

on the face of the globe has such an equable climate, or is so 

markedly transitional. 

For instance, the average annual temperature is essentially Tempera- 

" intermediate," and diminishes steadily from south to north: the J)""®^,^^ 
... 1 11 r iLf- Rainfall. 

wmter temperature is nowhere really extreme for any length of time, 

and diminishes steadily from west to east ; the summer temperature, 

again, is nowhere really extreme for any length of time, — very 

little of the continent having a summer season of over 68° F., — 

and diminishes steadily from east to west. So with rainfall. Very 

little of the continent gets more than 60 inches a year, and very 

little gets less than 1 2 inches ; and while two-thirds gets summer 

rain, one-third gets winter rain, the seaward end of each belt (of 

summer rain and of winter rain) getting also autumn rain. 

The really dominant agent in this distribution of equality is the Wind. 
wind, the favourable influence of which is greatly accentuated by 
the general east-and-west lie of the feature-lines and by the 
extension of marine influences eastward along the Mediterranean 
basin. And this wind-borne oceanic influence exercises such a 
distinguishing control over the area — raising the average temperature 
in the north and lowering it in the south — that, on this ground 
alone, Europe may be treated as a separate continent. 

Everywhere on the face of the Earth the most important single Swing of 
phenomenon is probably the swing of the wind-system with the Winds, 
sun ; but this is obviously of special importance in Europe, and 
through European influence it affects indirectly the civilisations 
of areas held, or originally colonised, by Europeans in other 
continents. One of the strongest reasons for avoiding the modern 



The Continent of Europe 


fashion of using the name " Westerlies " instead of the old " Anti- 
Trades," is the obvious emphasis that the latter puts on the 
relation between the two great manifestations of the single wind- 
system, the one towards the equator and the other towards the poles 
from a common starting-point. When the equator of heat cor- 
responds with the equator of size — at the equinoxes, these climatic 
phenomena are symmetrical north and south of the equator, and 
the common starting-point in each hemisphere is near the tropic. 
Summer This implies that the attractive range of the high-temperature 

Drought, and low-pressure centre is considerably over looo miles; and, 

Walker & Cockereil sc. 

Currents of North Atlantic. 

therefore, when the equator of heat is i o" N. even over the centre 
of the Atlantic Ocean, and 25° N. over the centre of the Sahara, 
the source of the Trades must be at least 35° N,, and may be even 
higher than 40° N. In other words, all the south of the Mediter- 
ranean basin must be, and a large proportion of the whole basin 
generally is, in summer within the Trade-wind sphere. And as 
these winds near their source, i.e. where they fall on to the surface 
of the lithosphere from the upper layers of the atmosphere, are cold 
and dry, and as they blow from colder to warmer latitudes, so far 
from bringing rain, they can always hold more moisture than they 




can get. The mass of the Mediterranean basin is, therefore, 
doomed to summer-drought. 

In winter, on the contrary, this northernmost extension is Winter 
equally far south of the northern tropic ; and so all the Medi- Rain, 
terranean basin is brought well within the influence of the Anti- 
Trades, and their essentially oceanic character is preserved far to 
the eastward owing to the eastern extension of the Atlantic Ocean 
in the Mediterranean Sea. The whole of the Mediterranean basin, 
therefore, enjoys winter rains ; and these are heavy enough to give, 
e.g., Naples a total annual fall 7 or 8 inches greater than that of 
London. Cf. p. 55. 

Of course the character of the wind, as a physical fact of, or Atlantic 
element in, climate depends on its normal direction, as a physical I^^if*- 

Atlantic storm tracks 

factor in, or cause of, climate ; and its normal direction in this 
case brings it across the vast area of relatively warm water which 
accumulates in the north-east of the Atlantic. The so-called " Gulf" 
water, as a stream, is practically not found east of Labrador or 
north of the Azores ; but, as a drift, it is found as far east and 
north as Spitsbergen, the average winter temperature at Mussel Bay 
being not 2° F. below the average annual temperature (16^ R). 
Even in February the surface temperature of the ocean as far north 
as the Azores is fully 64° F., and in August the same temperature 
is found as far north as the coast of Brittany. 

Off such a large area of relatively warm water an equally large Atlantic 
amount of water-vapour must be carried ; and the normal direction Hinter- 
of the wind carries this, with the heat which it implies, to an ex- ^^ ' 
ceptional distance inland because the distribution of relief is that of 


The Continent of Europe 



a typical Atlantic hinterland, although, of course, the actual rainfall 
decreases eastwards — e.g. Athens (15 inches) not having quite half 
that of Malaga. But this normal direction of the wind must be 
carefully related to the "permanent " wind-whirl off Iceland and the 
" permanent " wind-wyr off the Azores, the influence of each being 
sensibly accentuated by the seasonal changes of pressure in the 
north-east of Asia. 

In winter, when North America and Northern Eurasia are 
covered with blocks of cold air, the Icelandic wind-whirl is excep- 
tionally active, and its gradients are very steep ; and cyclonic 
storms are constantly following one another along the edges of the 

Stanford^ Ceogltstob!, London 

European temperatures. 

atmospheric "trough," especially when the North Sea has been 
flooded with warm water in the late summer. The winds in this 
whirl, then, are warmed by the ocean's retention of its summer heat, 
by the " Gulf " drift, and by their southern origin ; and for the 
same reasons they are saturated with vapour, which they must drop 
as they move from warmer to colder latitudes, or from warmer to 
colder altitudes — whether up a mountain-side or up a low-pressure 
funnel (cf. p. 57). In theory, therefore, strong, warm, rain-bearing 
winds should be constantly rotating (in a direction contrary to that 
of the hands of a clock) round the Icelandic centre of low pressure ; 
and these winds would obviously reach places due south of the 
centre as west winds, places due east as south winds, and places 
between south and east as successively W.S.W. and S.W. winds. 
Under these circumstances the whole oceanic margin of Europe 

VII Climate 55 

must tend to have mild and rainy winters, especially after a hot and 
dry late-summer, and the isotherms over it will run as nearly parallel 
to the isobars as the local relief will allow. 

All along the west of the continent and along the north of the Extremes 
Mediterranean extension of the Atlantic, then, we expect to find o^ Rain- 
heavy rains, especially in winter, the extreme fall amounting, e.g., to TemDera- 
197 inches on the summit of Snowdon and 179 on the Dalmatian ture. 
scarp behind Cattaro. The same areas will have a high winter 
temperature, and will be subject to cyclonic storms (cf. p. 90). 
The greatest contrasts will be found, on the contrary, where high 
latitude coincides with maximum distance from the ocean or with 
deprivation of ocean influence, as in the lee {i.e. north-east) of the 
Scandinavian plateau, and where low latitudes coincide with 
minimum distance from the ocean, as in the lee {i.e. south-west) of 
the Iberian plateau. 

The heavy winter rainfall in the Straits of Gibraltar is due Azores 
partly to the diversion of the outermost whirls of the Icelandic ^y- 
system between the lofty Nevada and Atlas into the warm Medi- 
terranean basin, and partly to the natural flow of the Azores wind- 
wyr clockwise in the same direction. This Azores wind-wyr, 
however, in winter is naturally weak, so that it does little to 
supplement or reinforce the Icelandic whirl, while both of them are 
powerless to push into the heart of the continent against the heavy 
block of cold air that is sitting over it and in the teeth of the 
outflow from the Siberian "pole of cold," which has recorded a 
winter minimum of - 92° F. 

Under these circumstances, the cold " continental " air must Seasonal 
have a minimum power of holding moisture, while precipitation Ra"ifaU- 
must be mainly in the form of snow ; and, on the other hand, the 
winter storms, which cannot penetrate the continent, must be 
diverted northward along the west coast or eastward along the 
south coast, carrying exaggerations of the oceanic influence alike 
to the English Channel and to the Adriatic. In all areas, too, 
where the sea is still evaporating rapidly after the neighbouring land 
has begun to cool rapidly, as roughly west of 15° E., the natural 
result will be regular autumn rains as well as winter rains. But east 
of that longitude a small area of shallow "fresh" sea, such as the 
Baltic, is powerless to retard the time of minimum temperature, and 
would be powerless even if it remained absolutely unfrozen. As a 
matter of fact, very soon after mid-winter the whole Baltic basin is 
cold and dry. It is characteristic that a normal range of tempera- 
ture on the Scotch coast of the North Sea (21° F.) should be just 
half that in the same latitude on the Russian coast of the Baltic. 

The conditions in summer make the Azores centre dominant Summer 
and the Icelandic centre relatively feeble ; for the pressure in the Condi- 
latter is abnormally high — for a low-pressure centre, — and the 


The Continent of Europe 


Azores centre has moved north, i.e. nearer to Europe, with the whole 
wind-system. In theory, then, cool, dry, and relatively gentle winds 
should be constantly rotating clockwise round the Azores centre of 
high pressure ; and these winds should reach places due north 
of the centre as west winds, and places north-east of the centre as 
north-west winds. At the same time over the heated continent 
there is such a low pressure that winds off the cooler ocean are 

attracted strongly inwards. Such cyclonic storms as may occur, 
then, are likely to pass over the central plain, and in any case the 
wyr influence is cool and dry. In other words, the typical summer 
wind in North-West Europe is from west or north-west on 37 
days out of 100, as against a south-west wind on only 22 
days, and that westerly or north-westerly wind brings us relatively 
little rain. This is more or less true also even of Eastern Europe. 
For the summer rains there are mainly of local origin, the moisture 
evaporated off the large areas of local water during the long calm 

VII Climate 57 

broiling summer days being precipitated at night oV in thunderstorms. 
This may mean that the rain does not come often enough, and is 
too violent when it does come. 

The land being now warmer than the ocean, and its temperature Iso- 
increasing with distance from that ocean, the isotherms begin to t^^^?^''^' 
bend northwards directly they touch land, so that, while the winter 
lowest mean was on the Finland plateau, the summer highest mean 
is on the Kirghiz steppe. But, the sun being now the dominant 
influence, as the sea is in winter, the isotherms never diverge much 
from the sun-line, i.e. run more or less parallel to lines of latitude 
instead of more or less parallel to the ocean-coast. In a word, they 
are " sun-lines " in summer and '* sea-lines " in winter. 

The high temperature and the low level — actually below the Summer 
sea-level — in south-eastern Russia so increase the capacity of the ''*"^- 
air there for holding moisture that by midsummer it seldom reaches 
even dew-point ; still less is there rain. But elsewhere the high day 
temperatures lead to quite a considerable rainfall associated with 
local convection currents ; cyclonic rains are widespread ; and there 
are heavy relief rains over all the Alpine system. 

Where cyclonic and relief conditions are complicated, very 
heavy rains occur in summer over Central Europe, e.g. in the Oder 
basin, but they occur under what are more like winter conditions. 
That is to say, a belt of high pressure covers the Great European 
plain, while one of low pressure spreads southward from the Baltic 
towards the nearest parts of the Mediterranean, from which a 
similar low-pressure area is spreading northward. The lofty snow- 
clad Alps form an insuperable barrier to this northward movement 
of light air, causing a detour over the lower eastern outliers of the 
system (cf. p. 34). To the east, then, the whole Sudetic system, — 
which nowhere much exceeds 5000 feet, — while not an insuperable 
obstacle, so intensifies the cyclonic uplift that over 2 1 inches of rain 
have fallen in twentyfour hours on the top and northern slopes of the 
Riesengebirge. Incidentally, too, this shows how inert a wyr is, 
and how little part it usually takes in the circulation of the air 
round it. It also shows how the upward movement of the air is 
continued beyond, i.e. to leeward of, the actual crest of the obstruct- 
ing mass, so that the heaviest precipitation is on the lee side. So 
the Snowdon maximum is at Glaslyn, in the lee of the summit. 

As a rule, average temperatures and average rainfalls are very Averages, 
misleading, many areas never having — except for a day or two in 
spring or autumn — their mean annual temperature ; but in the case 
of an essentially transitional and peninsular area general or average 
conditions may be emphasised. 

In Western Europe generally, then, the dominant wind is from Direction 
some point in " west " for 53 out of every 100 days, south-west on 25 °^ Wind, 
of them, due west on 1 7, and north-west on 1 1. In Eastern Europe, 

5^ The Continent of Europe ch. 

on the other hand, it is from some point in "east." Again, a north 
wind, like a west one, is much commoner in summer than in winter ; 
and both bring cooHng influences then, especially in the west. 
Consequently the range of temperature is least on the ocean margin, 
especially towards the north-west. 
Ezcep- To these general rules or processes of atmospheric circulation 

tions. there are some important exceptions or modifications, but they are 
essentially local and temporary. They are all related to one or 
both of the fundamental conditions — a local area of low pressure 
and a local area of high relief. And, as they are exceptional, — 
to the normal paths of the air-currents, which are also parallel to 
the great feature-lines, — they must obviously have a northern or 
a southern component. Those with a southern component are 
usually of the fohn type, and those with a northern component are 
usually of the mistral type. 
Fohn. The fohn, which is typically a winter and spring phenomenon, 

is certainly a direct result of a local high pressure, but it is 
indirectly related also to the local high relief and to a distant low 
pressure. When a strong system of low pressure coming in from 
the Atlantic is divided in such a way that one branch is drawn 
in over the Mediterranean while the other works up the English 
Channel, there seems little chance of the two being re-united except 
by a route immediately west or immediately east of the main Alpine 
block (cf. p. 57); but if the Mediterranean current is persistent, 
local conditions of relief and pressure may combine to minimise 
the obstacle of the Alpine block itself, especially in the neighbour- 
hood of the great central depression of the St. Gothard, i.e. at the 
northern apex of the Italian watershed in the deep Ticino valley 
between the Pennine and the Lepontine Alps. 

The initial movement in a fohn, therefore, seems to be a 
horizontal "impulse" of the air on the higher levels towards the 
north, and then a gravitation of the same cold heavy air down the 
northern slopes. This gravitation at first takes it apparently over 
still colder and heavier air that is lying stagnant in the valleys 
below, but the moving cold air is followed by moving warm air; 
and the latter is almost certainly part of the Mediterranean low- 
pressure current, though the latter is not evident at first in the lower 
strata of the air on the south side of the Alps. Indeed, the 
temperature in the lower strata to the south often remains very low, 
because the cold heavy air is " lodged." On the contrary, it seems 
to be the activity of the warm current at the higher level that gives 
the initial " impulse " to the cold air just below it on the heights. 

The ascent of the warm current, however, is accompanied by 
heavy rain, and the freeing of a corresponding amount of latent 
heat ; and, thanks partly to the action of this heavy rain in degrad- 
ing, the down-grade of the Reuss basin towards the northern centre 

VII Climate 59 

of low pressure begins at once. To the initial momentum of the 
air-current is now added the attracting power of the low-pressure 
centre to the north, so that the down-current is always violent ; 
indeed, it has done so much harm in this way that in the Canton of 
Uri there are regulations about the extinguishing of all fires on 
news of the fohn's approach. But, in spite of the danger from 
fire, it is hailed with joy in the spring, because not only is it 
extraordinarily dry, but also its original temperature has been 
increased — often loo per cent — by the compression under the heavier 
barometrical pressure during its descent ; it is, therefore, so dry and 
so warm that it becomes a veritable "eater of snow." It is to this 
that it owes its name of fbhn (" favouring "). In the naming of the 
similar " Roteturm " wind in Transylvania more emphasis has been 
given to its " gap " character, as related to the Red Tower Pass. 

The southerly sirocco of Sicily and leveche of Spain differ from Sirocco. 
the fohn in origin and therefore in character. They are essentially 
Saharan winds — hot, dry, and full of dust ; and the dust collects 
so much vapour in passing over the Mediterranean that they are 
almost always hazy or foggy. They may occur at any season of 
the year, but are most common about the time of the spring 
equinox. Then the northward movement of the sun is apt to in- 
duce local areas of very low pressure in the Shott depressions in the 
lee {i.e. south) of the Atlas ; and the normal anti-clockwise rotation 
round these centres carries the heat and fine sand as far east as 
Malta and as far west as Almeria. The terrific heat — which some- 
times exceeds 93° Y. at midnight — has a deadly effect on vegeta- 
tion, e.g. vines or olives in blossom ; but the area affected is 
fortunately confined to the southern latitudes of the Mediterranean. 
The name sirocco is, however, applied in the northern latitudes 
of the basin, as solano is in Spain to the ordinary eddies in the 
main air-current of the Anti-Trade. These eddies, of course, have 
a southern component in them ; but they are normally mild, rain- 
bearing winds, which are seldom violent and do much good. 

Somewhat the same distinction may be drawn between the bora Bora and 
(" North Wind ") and the mistral (" Masterful Wind "), the former Mistral, 
being more of a " gap " wind. Indeed, there is no question that 
it is often the ordinary north wind blowing with special force 
through the few gaps which do exist in the Alpine barrier, e.g. over 
the barren Karst saddle towards the Adriatic low-pressure centre. 
At other times, like the mistral, it is a local movement, due to 
the great differences in the day temperature on the sheltered 
strip of coast and on the snow-clad Alps or Cevennes. In conse- 
quence, though piercingly cold, it is essentially a healthy dry wind, 
accompanied by cloudless skies and other conditions favourable to 
the cleansing and warming of the soil. For the same reason, too, 
it usually stops at sundown. And it is very suggestive of the 


The Continent of Europe ch. vii 




macy of 

continental conditions of Spain, as contrasted with the peninsular 
conditions of France, that at the mouth of the Ebro, as the cierzo, 
it is mainly confined to autumn and early winter, while at the 
mouth of the Rhone it is most violent in late winter and spring. 

There are, then, three main climatic regions in Europe — the 
Atlantic, the Continental, the Mediterranean ; and these are so 
complementary of one another, and the total area of their distribu- 
tion is so small, that they greatly favoured that interdependence 
and mutual intercourse which were the great impulse to civilisation 
in early days. The Atlantic region is specially marked by even 
temperature, the mean temperature seldom falling below 32° F. fcr 
more than one month in the year and seldom rising above 64° F. 
for more than one month, and by evenly distributed rainfall, the 
amount being everywhere greatest in autumn. The Mediterranean 
region is specially marked by the absence of serious frost, 50° F. 
being a typical winter temperature alike in Valencia and 
Calabria, Corsica and Crete, and by the absence of summer rains 
except along the northern heights, which are also specially 
instrumental in excluding the cold northerly winds in winter. The 
Continental region is specially marked by extremes of temperature, 
at least Ihree consecutive months averaging below 32° F., and at 
least three averaging above 64° F., and by scanty rainfall, very 
little of the area having 30 inches and much of it not having even 
20. Western Europe is, therefore, climatically complementary of 
Eastern Europe, especially in the matter of temperature range, as 
Northern Europe is of Southern Europe, especially in the matter 
of seasonal rainfall. 

Climate, therefore, like position and relief, has greatly favoured 
the development of the continent as a home of Life, so that Europe 
has been far ahead of all the other continents in this respect. The 
scene of the most complicated mountain-building, it has the most 
complicated outline ; and variety of outline and of relief and of climate 
has combined with smallness of area to crowd species in such a way 
as to give maximum struggle for existence under conditions where 
success was not impossible. Such a concentration of stimulus 
means maximum advance amongst the organisms that do survive. 



(i) Of River Regime. 

The geographic control of river development is, of course, physical Two 
as well as climatic ; but the chief features of relief are so distributed Centres, 
in Europe that their influence mainly, and directly, accentuates that 
of the purely climatic phenomena. Thus, it is obvious that most 
of the important rivers radiate from one of two centres, the low 
Valdai plateau and the comparatively high Alpine system ; and 
the much greater height is accentuated by the much closer proximity 
to the sea. The summit of the Valdai (1150 feet) bears the same 
relation even to European Russia alone as a lo-inch brick on its 
end bears to 1,000,000 acres; and it stands 1000 miles even 
from the North Sea. About 160 separate peaks in the Alps 
have a height at least ten times that of the Valdai, and far more 
than half of them are well within 500 miles from the Atlantic 

There is, therefore, an immediate relation between the size of Size of 
the river-basins in Europe and their available precipitation. The Basma 
largest basin on the Atlantic sea-board, that of the Loire, has an 
area of about 45,000 square miles ; the basin of the Rhine is 
nearly double that (86,000); the Danube basin (312,000) is 
nearly four times that of the Rhine ; and the Volga has a basin 
of about 565,000. 

Now the annual range of temperature over the Atlantic in the Range of 
latitude of these rivers is less than 10° F., and is accompanied Tempera- 
by — indeed, it implies — a very high relative humidity. But the 
daily range of temperature in the basins themselves seems to be 
greater than anywhere else in the world within similar latitudes, 
and there is a maximum variability of weather generally. Through- 
out the whole area the departure from normal is towards warmth, 
i.e. the encouragement of evaporation, the excess towards the 
north-west being sometimes as much as 40° F. ; and this implies 
an abnormal capacity of the air for absorbing moisture. 



The Continent of Europe 


tion in 

tion in 

Again, though the continent is temperate in its mean annual 
temperature, both statistically and as illustrated by physiological 
effects, it is essentially intemperate in many of its phenomena. 
Even in England in the year 1 9 1 1 between April and August the 
maximum daily temperature varied between 1 1 ° F. and 1 00° F. ; 
and over the whole continent — in strong contrast to similar 
latitudes in the southern hemisphere — the normal interaction of 
land and sea creates maximum disturbance. This must be related 
to the retardation of maxima and minima temperatures. In the 
essentially continental part of the continent maximum or minimum 
temperature is retarded for one hour past midday or midnight and 
for one month past midsummer or midwinter, while in the marine 
part it is retarded for two hours and two months respectively. And 
this will ensure — amongst other results — maximum rainfall, mainly 
by convection, about two hours after midnight, and mainly in 
thunderstorms, about two hours after midday. It will also ensure 
rather similar temperatures in continental springs and autumns, but 
rather dissimilar temperatures between spring and autumn on the 
Atlantic sea-board. 

This, of course, instantly affects precipitation. The Anti-Trades 
have come so far in winter that " they have got into their stride," 
but they are greatly interfered with by the seasonal changes of 
temperature over the land. The land temperature then is not 
only a most effective precipitating medium, but relief influences are 
also most accentuated ; and the low temperature and consequent 
high pressure force the whole air-current into lines of least resistance, 
which come to be called " cyclonic tracks." We thus have a constant 
succession of more or less violent storms passing up the English 
Channel, forming almost as sure a line of defence for England as 
the channel itself; and all the sea-board rivers, whether Atlantic or 
Mediterranean, get an abundant winter rainfall, while continental 
basins are starved. [See p. 53.] 

The latter have their turn in summer, when the high temperature 
and consequent low pressure involve a maximum capacity in the 
air for absorbing moisture and a maximum tendency towards 
convection. These conditions combine to give the interior an 
abnormal rainfall in summer, but coupled with the disadvantage of 
the fall being too heavy and too local in both time and place, and 
therefore likely to cause serious floods in small or discordant basins. 
Thus, the north-western basins get an average of 10 per cent (of 
their total rainfall) in each of the five months September to January, 
while the central basins (north of the Alps) get an average of 1 2 per 
cent in each of the three months June to August, and not more 
than 7 per cent in any other three-month period. Reflected in the 
regime, e.g., of the German and the Russian rivers, this means that 
the former get equal supplies in spring and in autumn (cf. p 55) 


Climatic Control 


and twice as much in summer as in winter, while the Russian rivers 
get 3 per cent more in autumn than in spring and 130 per cent 
more in summer than in winter. 

There will be, then, great variety of regime, not only as between Varied 
rivers in different parts of the continent, but also as between R^&™e. 
different parts of the same basin, if a large one ; and a basin of 
insignificant size at a considerable height near the Atlantic may 
contradict a huge basin of low level in the interior in almost every 
possible phenomenon. • 

English Miles 

20 4C 60 80 

Land above 600 ffhigh shaded. 

Coalfields ■■■■ 

Stanford^ Oeog! £sCabT. London 

North-Eastem France. 

In both cases, however, the proportion of the actual rainfall over Surface 
the basin which actually reaches the river, depends largely on the Control, 
character of the surface, e.g. whether once glaciated or not, pervious 
or impervious, and on the extent to which that surface is covered 
with vegetation ; and this important consideration of vegetation 
itself largely depends on the character of the surface and on seasonal 
changes of climate. For instance, on the bare granitic hills of 
the Loire basin in winter, some 75 per cent of the total fall feeds 
the river, while on the porous plain of the deciduous forests in 
Russia not 1 5 per cent seems to reach the river in summer ; and 
the economic effect is further emphasised by the fact that the 


The Continent of Europe 


smaller basin would in any case tend to have the more variable flow 
in the navigable part of the river. 

Valdai Of course, the rivers of the Valdai area must be long and slow ; 

System, but no part of their watershed has a normal rainfall of more than 
40 inches, over 99 per cent of their basins it is not even 30, and 
over all the unforested parts evaporation is very rapid. They are, 
indeed, navigable for a very large proportion of their length, but for 
a relatively small proportion of the year. For instance, the Volga, 
• in spite of the huge size of its basin (cf. p. 61), rises at only 550 

feet above sea- level (633 feet above Caspian level) ; and it is 
navigable for 2260 miles out of 2325, but is ice-bound for 139 
days at Kostroma and 107 at Tsaritsyn. All these "Valdai" 
rivers are ice-bound for a large part of the year ; and the time in 
question lengthens towards the north and the east. This involves 
peculiar dangers from flooding. In the case of the northward- 
flowing rivers, their upper reaches always thaw before their lower 
reaches, causing most detrimental floods in the northern part of 
their basins ; and a similar phenomenon is found on the eastward- 
flowing part of the Volga, the ice breaking up a fortnight earlier at 
Tver than at Kostroma. 

Volga. This eastward section of the Volga goes through numerous 

morainic marshes, too, and spring comes so suddenly that on the vast 
forested lowland the melting snow can neither gravitate away nor be 
evaporated quickly enough to avoid further flooding — for miles over 
its low left bank. On the other hand, over the thirsty steppe evapora- 
tion and percolation are both so active that the river eventually 
discharges not much more than half the amount discharged by 
the Danube, which has a basin not much more than half the size of 
the Volga basin. The Volga is more or less typical of the continental 
part of Europe, though it belongs to the latitudes where there is 
extreme heat rather than extreme cold. But they are all ice-bound 
in winter, and their basins are so cold that, even where rain falls, it 
does not run off; they all flood suddenly when the ice and snow are 
melted in spring, and they all are fed with suflScient summer rain. 

"Alpine" The rivers of the purely marine area enjoy more or less even 

System. rainfall throughout the year, but low temperature increases 
precipitation and decreases evaporation in the cold season ; so that 
they are all normally low in summer, though small floods occur 
occasionally, and all normally high in winter and subject then to 
heavy floods. Such a regime, only greatly accentuated, is found 
throughout all the summer-drought area, where in summer many of 
the rivers become discontinuous. 

Seine. The Seine is a good instance of the marine type under simple 

conditions. Its basin is no larger than Scotland (about 30,000 
square miles), and no part of its watershed has an elevation of over 
2500 feet; but only two-thirds of the basin consists of permeable 


Climatic Control 


rock, all the Yonne feeder and part of the Marne feeder being 
impermeable. Owing to the small size of the basin and the lowness 
of the watershed the same meteorological conditions usually prevail 
over all parts of it at the same time, and the torrential tributaries 
can send flood-water from the margin of the basin to Paris in four 
days. Heavy rains over the torrential tributaries imply heavy rains 
over all the basin, but the non-torrential tributaries cannot send 
flood-water from their basin-margins to Paris in less than a week. 
The simultaneous occurrence of heavy rain over all the basin — 
especially if snow is melting under the influence of the warm south- 

west wind — involves, therefore, sudden floods or a succession of 
floods on each of the torrential tributaries, and a certainty of a slow 
subsequent rise on each of the non-torrential streams ; and mean- 
time the continuous rain has saturated small subsidiary depressions 
in the centre of the basin, e.g. the Brie, thus making them tem- 
porarily impermeable. The simplicity of the phenomena enables 
the ultimate flood at Paris to be foretold at least a couple of days in 
advance, which minimises the loss of life ; but the only means of 
stopping the flood, at a time when evaporation is sluggish and plant- 
life is inactive, would be to divert the Yonne bodily into the Loire. 
The Rhine gives an illustration of a larger basin with a more 

66 The Continent of Europe ch. 

Ehine. complex regime. Its upper course is fed from glaciers and 
permanent snow, its middle course is among hills covered with 
snow in winter, and its lower tributaries are rain-fed ; the glaciers 
and permanent snow melt fastest in summer, the temporary winter- 
snow on the lower hills melts in spring, and the north-western part 
of the basin receives autumn and winter rain. We expect, therefore, 
a summer maximum where the Rhine itself is joined by its great 
glacier-fed tributary, the Aar-Reuss, at Swiss Coblenz ("The 
Confluence"), i.e. opposite Waldshut. This summer maximum, 
which gives a navigable depth of nearly 5 feet from Basel to 
Strassburg, implies a winter minimum (of 3 feet) over the same 
area, or rather as far as the mouth of the rain-fed 111. From the 
mouth of the 111 northwards the minimum depth is not below 5 feet ; 
and, after the "confluence" of the Moselle at the other Coblenz, 
the inflow of rain gives a winter maximum of never less than 9 feet. 
The spring-melting of the snow in the Neckar valley largely accounts 
for the fact that Mannheim — with a minimum dredged depth of 
6| feet — does an annual river-borne trade of over 6,000,000 tons ; 
and it equalises the variation (20 feet) between the summer 
maximum of the upper ice-fed and the winter maximum of the 
lower rain-fed reaches. The total result is that, below the inflow 
of the rain-fed Nahe at the old Roman port of Spires, vessels of 
at least 500 tons burden can ply without difficulty, while below 
the inflow of the snow-fed Main the burden rises, for at least 200 
days in the year, to 2000 tons. Incidentally, too, this influx of 
winter and spring floods converges on the Bingen narrows, with 
a consequent current-speed normally above 6 miles an hour — 
necessitating powerful tugs and stationary hauling-gear for up-stream 
traffic, but supplying one reason why the estuary of the Rhine is 
so much less silted up than that of the Elbe. 

Rhone. The Rhone may be compared with the Rhine, if only to criticise 
the prevalent misconception that it is useless as a waterway. Of 
course, it has obvious drawbacks. Though its length is only 500 
miles, it rises 6000 feet above the sea ; and, as it is fed from what 
is at once the highest part of the Alps and that nearest to the 
Atlantic, its volume and its pace must be great. No doubt, too, 
the ice-fed Durance joins the main stream too near its mouth to 
avoid complicating conditions in the delta, and the Ardeche joins 
it too near for its melted snow to be of much use for navigation. 
On the other hand, about 4700 feet of the total fall is accomplished 
in the 105 miles down to the Lake of Geneva; the river is fed 
from 405 square miles of glacier ; and its fall from Lyons to the 
sea is only 530 feet in 230 miles. Again, while all the ice-fed 
streams flood in summer, the rain-fed ones flood in winter and the 
snow-fed in spring, so that the Saone and the Ain, like the Neckar 
and the Moselle in the case of the Rhine, help to keep the volume 


Climatic Control 


more or less uniform throughout the year. These conditions 
combine to give the Rhone almost always a minimum depth of 
4^ feet — which is enjoyed by the Elbe for only 200 days in the 
year and by the Oder for only 127; and the one great injury from 
the ice-fed torrents, an undue widening of the bed by the heavy 
floods, has been artificially corrected in such a way that the con- 
centration of energy in a single channel enables the river to carry 
away its heavy burden of shingle and gravel. 

The Danube has a still more complex regime, as might be Danube: 
inferred from the fact that it twice cuts across the great Alpine ^pper 
barrier. In the upper part of its basin it is fed with winter-rain 
from the Black Forest and by melted snow in spring from the 

Iron Gates on Danube. 

Alpine foreland ; and, as this part of its course gets little actual 
supply of rain in the time of maximum evaporation and maximum 
plant-energy, it has a minimum flow in summer. It suffers further, 
in this section, because during drought the head stream disappears 
bodily underground, sometimes for three or four months ; and, when 
it reappears 8 miles to the south and 560 feet lower, it enters Lake 
Constance, i.e. flows to the North Sea, not the Black. 

At the first Alpine barrier the river is joined by its great ice-fed Middle 
tributary the Inn, which has a length greater than that of the Course. 
Danube proper above their confluence at Passau ; and the whole 
river assumes an Alpine regime, showing a summer maximum at 
Vienna and receiving the " Danube " as a truncated stream now 
rising in Wiirtemberg, not in Baden. Once inside the mountain- 
barrier, it becomes a more or less typical Steppe river, suflering great 
extremes of climate ; and, as it is now fed mainly by winter-snow 
and river-ice, it has a spring maximum, the melting of the ice-fields — 


The Continent of Europe 


where the river deployed in several channels (now converted into 
one) on to the Hungarian plain — having caused formerly very 
destructive floods, e.g. in 1838 at Budapest. But the melting of 
the hill snow and the lowland ice, and the normal occurrence of 

trAnfo/io's cioof esTABT, lohoon 

Contour map of Russia. 

The lightly shaded areas are more than 600 feet in height. The Caspian Sea is 84 feet 
below sca-leveL 

early summer rains, are followed by such high temperatures that 
the air has a maximum capacity for absorption at the same time 
that plant-activity is at a maximum ; and the river shows a late- 
summer and early-autumn minimum at Belgrade, 

After crossing the second Alpine barrier (Kazan — Orsova), the 


Climatic Control 


great difficulty is temperature, not precipitation. In the continental Lower 
climate the transitional seasons are so short that navigation is very Course. 
precarious; for instance, in 1902 the winter began with such a 
sudden and extreme frost that 38 steamers were frozen up between 
Braila and the coast, where the river is navigable by ocean vessels 
of 4000 tons register, and more than 120 loaded barges suffered 
a similar fate between Braila and Rushchuk, where the barges have 
a capacity of up to 2000 tons. On the contrary, the large amount 
of underground water — with a normal and constant temperature 
of 48° F. — received by the river between Vienna and Pressburg 
creates a winter harbour that is almost entirely free from ice ; and 
it was here that the old Roman road from Aquileia found a terminus 
in Carnuntum. 



(2) Of Vegetation. 

We have already noticed how early Man must have had most Early 
chance of intruding, with his domestic plants and animals, in a Man. 
transition area, and how markedly Southern Europe is such an area. 
But the mere absence of the more adverse conditions is not, by 
itself, sufficient to account for the very early growth of civilisation 
in the Mediterranean basin. And we may examine in some detail 

both the phenomena 
which account for the 
absence of the unfavour- 
able conditions, and 
those which account for 
the presence of favour- 
able ones. 

All organic forms, High k. 

whether plant or beast ^'^ 

\ , . Forms, 

or man, have much m 

common ; and their in- 
terdependence implies, 
on the one hand, more 
or less common climatic 
conditions, and, on the 
other hand, the sub- 
servience of the lower forms to the higher. From one point of 
view, Man had to oust the essentially " wild " plants and beasts that 
were in possession of an area; from the other point of view, 

Ancienl- Ice Sheet. 


The Continent of Europe 




survivors or intruders must be his servants. This was easy in 
Europe, for, in the first place, the Great Ice Age had decimated the 
native flora and fauna of Europe ; and survival had been easiest 
where it is more or less true to say that subsequent progress was 
most diflicult, i.e. in the Mediterranean basin. The evolution of 
Europe as a continent has been intimately bound up with the 
movements of shepherds from the grass-lands of Asia into the fruit- 
garden of the Mediterranean on their way to the forests and fisheries 
of North-West Europe. 

Europe lies mainly in purely temperate latitudes, but also partly 
in essentially transitional latitudes. In both there are seasonal 
variations of temperature and of rainfall, and these are the two 
essential conditions in the evolution of those plants which are most 
useful to man. The greater differences of rainfall are in the south, 
and the greater ranges of temperature are farther north. The net 
result is more favourable to the north than to the south ; for the 
absence of moisture, which is the fundamental check on the growth 
of plants, comes in the south at the time when otherwise the heat 
is most favourable to such growth. In the north, on the contrary, 
the shortness of the summer season is more than compensated by 
the length of the summer day ; and the occurrence of the rainfall 
and the heat simultaneously gives to both a maximum utility. But 
this could not be effective until the more adverse results of the old 
glaciation had been modified or removed ; and one agent in this 
process was the gradual desiccation that has been spreading over 
the Old World, and that has progressively handicapped the 
Mediterranean peoples. 

Now, the rainfall in most parts of Southern Europe is scanty in 
amount and strictly seasonal in character, and these conditions are 
so adverse to forest growth that continuous forests are rare ; and 
this must have left a relatively large area free for cultivation, so that 
cultivated plants appeared in the Mediterranean basin ages before 
they appeared on the European plain. But, though the rainfall is 
adverse to continuous forest, the absence of any cold wind in the 
dry season and the presence of sufficient warmth in the wet season 
render the limited supply adequate for discontinuous, or " orchard," 
trees, provided that they are adapted to resist drought. The various 
processes by which this adaptation is secured, include lengthening 
of root, restriction of height, thickening of bark, development of 
thorns, toughening of leaves, secretion of volatile oil, and other 
means of resisting or evading the evaporating power of very dry air 
or of drawing water from great depths. And no typical plants have 
survived in the Mediterranean basin without fulfilling one or more 
of these conditions. The olive, the cork-oak, the vine, and — in the 
rainiest areas — the sweet chestnut are typical. 

The olive is probably the most important, as it is the most 

IX Climatic Control 71 

typical. Like many other natives of summer-drought, e.g. the box The 
and the yew, it develops a rich colour in the wood, and grows so Olive. 
slowly that its wood takes a most beautiful polish, and the tree itself 
attains a prodigious age (i 000-1200 years). But the greater 
violence of the wind where there is no ground-friction, the more 
rapid transpiration of the leaves at this higher level, and the lower 
humidity of the air at that level, all combine to restrict its height 
usually to under 30 feet ; and even this height seems to be reached 
only by the help of man. The small size of the narrow "willow" 
leaf, the hoary hue of its under side, and the fact that it is ever- 
green, all combine to minimise transpiration in the hot dry-season 
and to facilitate assimilation in the cool wet-season. The tree never 
suffers from physiological drought, because it cannot live at all where 
the temperature is too low for it to assimilate in the cold season ; 
and its root-system is so enormously developed that it is able to 
draw water from depths where actual drought cannot reach, while the 
stem up which the water passes may have a girth of over 20 feet, 
i.e. equal to the height of the tree ! And olive-oil is the milk and 
cream, the butter and cheese, of this typically summer-drought area. 

Plants of humbler habit, with no woody stem to defy cHmatic Humble 
injury, are also largely found in the Mediterranean area ; but they Plants- 
have survived only in virtue of aromatic properties or some pro- 
vision for storing water, as in the case of laurel and oleander, 
lavender and myrtle, garlic and asphodel. And the destruction 
which man has undoubtedly caused amongst forest growths in 
historic times, has probably been equalled by that caused by goats 
amongst the humbler plants, so that the survivors are typically 
unpleasant to handle, being covered with hairs or spines or resin, or 
in some other way made distasteful to the goats. 

Of course, the great variety of level involves considerable Natural 
variety of temperature, and this means variety of vegetation — from Grasses, 
palm trees to pines ; and, on the other hand, the most important 
areas are largely alluvial floors of valleys that are surrounded by 
lofty mountains, from which the alluvium has itself been carried, 
and from which it is watered to an extent that bears no obvious 
relation to the local rainfall. But neither the alluvial flats nor the 
relatively large supplies of water in the subsoil are very suitable for, 
or very favourable to, the shallow-rooted grasses, so that there is 
bound to be a deficiency of natural pasture except on the fertile soil 
of the glacial platforms. 

The case is different with the cultivated grasses, especially Culti- 
barley and wheat, both of which are natives of the Mediterranean vated 
basin. Neither of them needs the great heat which is typical of 
the basin in summer, but the effective value of which is lost 
because the drought makes summer the time of rest for plants. 
The early growth of both is encouraged by the mild moist winters. 


The Continent of Europe 





while the spring heat "forces" them on so quickly that they are 
mature before the drought is at hand ; and by that time the 
perfection of ripening depends precisely on the presence of dry 
warm weather, which also facilitates harvesting. There is, therefore, 
every encouragement for man to cultivate annuals of this kind on 
the precious alluvial plains. In other words, he can easily provide 
himself with corn and wine and oil ; and on such of the alluvial 
plains as had been originally forested, and so were rich in fibrous 
leaf-mould, e.g. Northern Italy, he could grow the flax which he 
needed for clothing. 

To these fundamental necessaries he could easily add various 
pulses and flavourings, e.g. the garlic, and all kinds of nuts and 
stone-fruits ; and in later times the areas which enjoy early summer 
rains, were found to be as favourable to maize as those enjoying 
only winter rains were to tobacco. But the typical control is seen 
in the fruit-growing — with irrigation. Nearly all stone-fruits are 
natives of South-Western Asia, as the various citrus fruits are of 
South-Eastern Asia ; and the easy cultivation of the ordinary arable 
land, and the rapid growth of the ordinary annual crops, left the 
leisure that was necessary for the cultivation of fruit and for 
attending successive harvests, e.g. vine, fig, olive. At the same 
time, the essential problems of irrigation were the same there and 
then as they are now in California, and the family was neither 
capable of being, nor allowed to be, the irrigating unit of labour — 
a result somewhat adverse to family life (cf. p. 74), as the relative 
lack of rain was to density of population. 

One of the great natural advantages of Europe in early days 
was that the southern part is in climate and crops more or less 
complementary of the northern. Here almost the only drought is 
physiological, for every normal winter is cold enough to stop 
vegetation. Under normal conditions, then, the annual plants 
must be such as mature in summer, or they must be treated so 
as to evade the typical winter conditions ; and this involved such 
change of exposure or season as, e.g., in planting vines on hill-slopes 
facing south-east or sowing wheat in spring instead of autumn. 
But the ordinary succession of climatic phenomena was intimately 
associated with the calm heavy air of a high-pressure centre in 
winter and with the light rain-bearing inflow to a low-pressure 
centre in summer ; and the absence of wind in the cold season was 
as favourable to the growth of forest as the presence of rain was 
in the warm season. A very large proportion of the area was, 
therefore, bound to produce temperate forest. 

But the summer was not long enough, nor was the temperature 
high enough, for the favouring rain-supply to produce dense 
vegetation ; and Man intruded without much difficulty, marking 
his arrival by such encroachment on the forest as handicapped it 


Climatic Control 


in its natural struggle with other forms of vegetation. Thus the 
various grasses, natural and artificial, which do not need much heat, 
and which do not mind more or less constant rain, were encouraged, 
especially oats and rye ; and the fibrous floors of the old forests 
were equally favourable to flax and hemp, as they have been in 


Russian belts of vegetation. 

later times to various root-crops that are tolerant of little sunshine 
and much rain, e.g. potatoes and turnips. The flax was less 
valuable than in the Mediterranean basin, however, because the 
climate was so favourable to natural pasture that wool was both 
abundant and more suited to the requirements of Man in the long 


The Continent of Europe 







Zones of 

" Conifer- 

cold winter ; and the same conditions increased the demand for 
animal food, thus incidentally involving a type of occupation very 
favourable to the development of family life. 

At the same time life was relatively hard. One legacy of the 
old glaciation was an intractable soil ; the forest had to be cleared ; 
the marsh had to be drained ; and the first results of forest-clearing 
increase rather than diminish flooding. On the other hand, these 
temperate forests are social, a fair variety of types being combined 
with a large continuous area under each type ; and under such 
circumstances enormous herds of swine found abundance of food 
in the continuous oak and beech forests, and the variety of the 
timber was suflScient for ordinary domestic purposes. 

Eastward and south-eastward of the forest area the presence of 
icy winds in the winter and the absence of rain in the hottest part 
of the summer were profoundly adverse to forest growth ; and the 
forest gave place to prairie and steppe, the one offering as great 
facilities for the cultivation of artificial grasses, especially wheat, as 
the other did for natural pasture. There is, of course, strong wind 
on the ocean margin of the old forest area ; but its strength is so 
much lessened by ground-friction that it did little more than keep the 
ocean margin usefully free from forest, while it brought abundance 
of rain to replace the moisture which it carried away from the tran- 
spiring trees. 

The pastoral tendencies of the grasslands were far from being 
annihilated as the shepherds moved westward ; but obvious changes 
crept in. The lush grass of the Atlantic sea-board produces beef 
of a quality unknown on the real steppe, so that the cow completely 
displaces the mare from her premier position on the steppe ; and 
the stabling of most domestic animals greatly facilitated that 
collection of manure which has revolutionised agriculture in North- 
West Europe. 

These general considerations may afford ground for dividing 
the continent into formal zones of vegetation, the most northerly 
being the useless Tundra — the cold desert which occupies the 
northern margin of the Russian lowland, and overlaps on to the 
Ural and Scandinavian heights. Indeed, Russia — spanning the 
whole continent from north to south — gives a fairly correct bird's- 
eye view of all the zones. 

The Coniferous Forest, in which the non-coniferous birch is 
associated with pine and fir and larch, practically covers the whole 
area southward from the Tundra at least as far as the latitude of 
Christiania— St. Petersburg, the fir being specially dominant round 
the Gulf of Bothnia. The subsidiary forest products include resin 
and tar, potash and pulp ; but agriculture is more typical of the 
deciduous forests, while the clearings are typically devoted to oats, 
barley, rye, and potatoes. 

IX Climatic Control 75 

The Deciduous Forest remains only "in samples" except in "Decidu- 
Russia, where it still covers much of the land between the latitude ^^ " 
of St. Petersburg and that of Kief. The southern limit of the 
area is partly physical and partly climatic. In the west it runs 
along the northern edge of the Young Folded Mountains, and in 
the east along the southern edge of the old glaciation ; and inside 
these latitudinal extremes it is roughly bounded longitudinally by 
lines within which there is a winter temperature below 32° F. for at 
least two months, and a summer temperature above 64° F. for at 
least two months, with a mean annual rainfall of rather more or 
rather less than two feet. Where relief decreases the temperature 
and increases the rainfall, as along the Vosges and the Black 
Forest, the Erz Gebirge and the Sudetes, deciduous trees give place 
to conifers; and where late glaciation has left a marshy and 
intractable soil, as along the south shore of the Baltic, conifers and 
heaths occur, as also on the windy flats that border the North Sea. 
But agriculture is widely developed over the cleared parts of the 
area, the chief grains being wheat and rye and the chief roots being 
beet and potatoes ; and the pastures, which are largely artificial, 
have been so much improved by systematic grazing and regular 
mowing that they are exceedingly rich. 

The Evergreens of the Mediterranean basin coincide with the "Ever- 
area of summer-drought, which practically includes all the land that f^*^'?,' 
drains into the Mediterranean proper. But altitude gives great 
variety, the trees at the highest levels being coniferous ; and the 
actual uplift gives great protection to the coastal valleys, so that — 
with irrigation from the snow-capped heights — even tropical plants 
can be cultivated. Not only so, but these are of unique excellence ; 
for instance, the finest rice in the world is grown in Lombardy — 
illustrating the general law that the farther from the equator grain 
can be ripened properly at all, the more perfect does it become. 
All the typical trees and shrubs are sombre-coloured, for only those 
survived which were able to exclude — by means of colours from the 
lower end of the spectrum — the dangerous ultra-violet rays of 
sunshine ; and there is considerable localisation of type, e.g. cork 
and various kinds of " alfa " being more dominant in the " African " 
climate of Iberia, while olive and mulberry are more dominant 
elsewhere. The various evergreen shrubs of the citrus genus are 
very typical, especially oranges and lemons. Their restricted height, 
the colour and texture of their bark, the shape and glossy surface of 
their leaves, their secretion of volatile oils, their protection of their 
green shoots by axillary spines, all make them more or less in- 
different to summer drought so long as copious autumn and winter 
rains come in time to " flush " their fruit with juice. 

The Steppe of South- Eastern Europe is said to be a sort of "Inter- 
continental extension of the Mediterranean domain, as the North- g^gp-g 

76 The Continent of Europe ch. 

European heaths are said to be a maritime extension of the Steppe 
proper. It certainly is characterised by many typical Mediterranean 
plants, especially of the bulbous habit ; but this is a natural control 
of the climate. Steppe is essentially land in temperate latitudes so 
far from the ocean, or so much cut off from oceanic influence, and 
so much exposed to wind in winter, that its climate is adverse to all 
plants except such as can evade the extremes of temperature and 
drought. It is found inside the Alp-Carpathian ring of mountains 
and in similar latitudes in Russia ; and the fact that its northern 
limit coincides roughly with the northern limit of loess, i.e. the 
southern limit of morainic deposits, has led to its being connected 
with the fine character of the loess. But it is almost certainly a 
joint result, with the loess, of the dry winter wind which distributed 
the glacier silt (cf. p. 24). It is naturally desert in summer, in 
autumn, and in winter ; but in spring the melted snow makes it 
"blossom as the rose," with dark-red tulips, peach-red almond- 
shrubs, pale-red woodbine. And its better-watered areas, especially 
in Hungary, repay richly cultivation under grain. 



(3) Of Beast and Man. 

Ice Age. The Great Ice Age scarcely affected fish and birds, but it worked 
havoc among land mammals — in proportion to their size and appetites 
and in inverse proportion to their intelligence and powers of loco- 
motion. Indeed, the extraordinarily rapid progress of early Man 
subsequently cannot be dissociated, on one hand, from the wholesale 
massacre of the stupid during the glacial epochs, and, on the other 
hand, from the typical agility and intelligence of arboreal mammals. 
But Man is innately adaptable and omnivorous as well as intelligent, 
and must have come best out of the struggle, while the purely 
herbivorous beasts of the more southern latitudes must have come 
out of it worst. For the advancing ice drove many typical plants 
to practical annihilation in the Mediterranean ; and the smaller 
and more abstemious beasts which survived must — in the process 
of adjustment to new sources of food — have lost some of their old 
advantage of superior strength, and have been very much at the 
mercy of man. Cf. p. 47. 
Social The importance of this depends partly on the fact that, far from 

Species, tropical scenes of senseless competition, species are few but social ; 
and the old civilisation and the dense population of Europe have 

X Climatic Control 77 

involved the disappearance of such species as could not be brought 
into due subjection (cf. p. 69). For instance, the demand for 
beech-wood of a character appropriate to — because produced by — 
areas of close foresting has led in chair-making areas to the whole- 
sale destruction of nut-eating animals, e.g. squirrels, whose appetites 
interfered with the natural increase of seedlings. Exactly opposite 
conditions have given rise to the recent law in Russia prohibiting 
access for three years to certain forest-areas favourable to the sable. 

As almost the whole continent may be described as natural Fauna, 
forest or mountain zone, we should expect that the natural fauna 
would be either of the forest type, e.g. the wolves and bears of 
Russia, or of the montane type, e.g. the chamois and ibex of 
Switzerland ; but the domestication of the important hoofed animals 
and the cultivation of artificial grain have given special opportunities 
for the spread of rodents, by decreasing the old competition on their 
grass-land home, whether steppe or alp (cf. the Alpine marmot), and 
increasing their artificial supplies of food. 

Unfortunately for Man, from the need for fertility to discount Steppe 
the appalling mortality in the times of keenest competition, many O'^gan- 
of these animals, e.g. the rat and the rabbit, have inherited, as the 
Negro has in his age-old struggle with noxious microscopic fauna, 
extraordinary reproductive power ; and, as they are all wholly or 
partly vegetarian in diet, they have become a very serious tax on 
agriculture, especially where there has been foolish and wholesale 
decimation of such essentially useful birds as owls. Locusts and 
grasshoppers are similarly prolific steppe organisms. It was 
estimated that the British operations in Cyprus exterminated in 
two years 250,000,000,000 locusts — whose "music" is simply the 
noise of millions of ceaselessly moving jaws. 

In his war with such pests, including the few noxious reptiles Birds. 
which survived glaciation — though they have never flourished since 
then in Europe as they have in the hotter parts of the Old World — 
Man has been greatly helped by the rich bird fauna. And this 
richness is due partly to the large area of original forest, and partly 
to their greater mobility in the face of glacial movement or human 
hunters, but mainly to the fact that the Nile valley has provided a 
unique line of migration between the breeding-grounds and the 
winter-quarters of many species. There has been also a somewhat 
similar migration westwards towards the Atlantic in winter ; so that 
there is a zone of rich bird fauna all the way from England via the 
Atlantic and Mediterranean coast-lands and the Nile valley to the 
Ethiopian highlands. Indeed, the choice of the island of Capri by 
Tiberius as the site of his famous palace, was due partly to the 
excellence of its vineyards and partly to the fact that it was — as 
it still is — a regular resting-place for quails on their northward 
migration. Amongst the birds which do not migrate far southward. 


The Continent of Europe 







e.g. ptarmigan, there is a change of colour — to white or nearly 
white — in winter ; and the change is protective against radiation of 
heat as well as against enemies. 

Man, as the culminating product of the various controls, is of 
three main types — Nordic, Alpine, and Mediterranean ; and his 
dominant control is climatic, the direct influence showing specially 
in colour and the indirect in physique. And we may make two 
assumptions about his theoretical development and characterisation : 
(i) his early progress must have been easiest where conditions 
approximated to a natural evolution, but (2) his ultimate progress 
should be greatest where conditions strained his powers without 
overstraining them. If these assumptions are justified, the 
optimum result should be found where the two sets of conditions 
were combined ; and we should, therefore, find the highest type 
evolved in the forested areas of cool-temperate latitudes. 

Primeval man — whom, without necessarily accepting all or any 
of the suggestions about a probable Gondwanaland, we might call 
a Gondwana — was certainly evolved in a region of such high 
temperature and high relative humidity that it was forested ; and 
the Gondwana was, therefore, brunet in colour and arboreal in 
habit. The brown pigment is still found in the epidermal cells of 
all peoples on the face of the earth, even the blondest ; and infants 
can support their own weight unaided if suspended by the fingers. 
This, though obviously an anachronism now, like such other 
transient infantile traits as extreme long-headedness and a concave 
nose, is an appropriate and significant accomplishment in the 
highly evolved descendants of arboreal primates. Man, in his 
individual development, has to climb his own genealogical tree ; 
and, during the Age of Fear, survival was naturally to those children 
of the Tree-Dwellers that were blessed with the most prehensile 
fingers. But, obviously, their forms as well as their fingers were 
adapted to their arboreal environment ; and the habitual conformity 
of the human skull to the general plan of the human body at once 
becomes of prime importance. For arboreal environment involves 
simian physique, which implies an elongated body ; and to this 
the skull would unquestionably conform. 

Primeval man came into Europe, therefore, from the south ; 
he was brown-skinned and long-headed ; like nearly all other tree- 
dwelling mammals, he was markedly social and quick in mind and 
body ; and he instinctively avoided the unforested highlands. But 
he arrived in days of heavier rainfall and higher relative humidity ; 
and, until he had himself made effective attacks on the native 
forests, he found a congenial home in the Mediterranean basin. 
There were also, as we have seen, lines of easy movement from 
this area into the northern forest areas, especially in the Atlantic 
half of the continent. In each case the new environment must 

X Climatic Control 79 

have tended to arrest or to develop fundamental traits, and to do 
this in different degrees and in different directions ; and the pre- 
dominant factor in the differentiation was the essential contrast of 
summer-rain and summer-drought with their implicit differences of 
relative humidity, i.e. capacity for obstructing the ultra-violet rays of 
sunlight. Summer-drought, with its high actinic power, tended to 
blacken in the lower latitudes ; summer-rain, with its high opacity, 
tended to bleach in the higher latitudes. For the increased activity 
of the lungs, in the presence of the relatively little and feeble sun- 
shine in the summer-rain area, favoured the lighter colour of the 
skin ; the increased activity of the intestines, in the presence of 
the relatively great and strong sunshine of the summer-drought area, 
favoured the darker colour. Nordic man, therefore, became fair, 
while Mediterranean man became — or remained — very dark, the 
shade deepening eastward with the decrease of relative humidity. 

Under these circumstances the survival of the fittest meant the Need of 
survival of those who were appropriately coloured. For human I*i&™ent. 
protoplasm is normal only at a temperature of about 98°— 99° F., and 
even infra-red rays can disturb it seriously if it is not protected 
by a sufficiently pigmented cover, i.e. skin, because the normal 
temperature of the body is increased perceptibly by an increase in 
the temperature of the surrounding air. The actual process is 
illustrated in Europe by the distribution of freckles or ordinary 
sunburn. This is a pathological phenomenon, i.e. an injury, caused 
only and directly by the short actinic rays, and is therefore a sign 
of incomplete adaptation to environment ; it seldom occurs in 
dark-skinned persons, and can be prevented in the fair-skinned by 
a slight staining of the skin. Natural skin-pigment is evolved as 
a similar protection, and therefore varies with the need, i.e. the 
intensity of the sunshine, as conditioned by the altitude of the sun 
and the humidity of the air " blanket." 

In this connection the forest was of prime importance. It Forest 
meant the direct presence of tree-shade, and it implied a relatively iJ^'icnce. 
high humidity ; and the relative humidity must always be high 
where, as in Europe outside the Mediterranean basin, moist winds 
blow regularly towards higher latitudes. Here, too, even apart 
from the question of humidity, neither heat nor light is intense, so 
that dark skin was not needed to increase radiation of heat and 
protect from light, while fair skin was needed to minimise radiation 
of the relatively deficient heat, especially in the typical gloom of 
the fiords and forests of North-West Europe, which are also in the 
normal path of cyclonic systems. 

The southern frontier of the White man, then, roughly coincides "White" 
with the southern frontier of Bear- Worshippers because it is the ^^^• 
southern frontier of temperate forest. And, in view of the great 
importance of the angle of ray-impact and the thickness of the 


The Continent of Europe 




atmosphere, we may fix the natural limits of the normal or average 
White man in Europe as such parts of latitudes 45° to 55° N. as 
are maritime or forested ; south of this he is blackened, and north 
of it, i.e. north of the latitude of Copenhagen, he is bleached. 
This is equally true of Yellow men moving westward, e.g. the 
Magyars, and of the original Brown man after movement northward. 
The case of the Finns is profoundly significant, if it is a case of 
the lank-haired race intruding into the domain of the wavy-haired ; 
for in that case the Finns' hair has regained its original morpho- 
logical wave, and lost the physiological coarseness that it acquired 
in the Yellow man's intemperate climate (see Note, p. 81). 

This would be strong evidence against the belief that the wavy 
European hair is of secondary origin, derived from the crossing of 

Geometrical centre of Europe. 

distinct primary types of man. Black and Yellow ; but in any case 
we would accept, as conclusive evidence of priority, the closer agree- 
ment between the wavy European hair and that of other primates. 
And, as the Black man is further than the Yellow man from the higher 
apes in this respect, we assume that the former has suffered more 
variation, i.e. degeneration, from the original type. We, therefore, 
expect such foreign influences as have been really effective or civilis- 
ing to have reached Europe from the east rather than from the south. 
There has been such an intrusion from the east in the case of 
Alpine man ; and he is still largely a Yellow or " parchment- 
skinned" man. Unlike the Nordic man and the Mediterranean 
man, he has his area of characterisation outside the frontiers of 
Europe — on the vast intemperate grass-lands of Asia. He is, there- 
fore, a man of the alp rather than of the Alps ; he flourishes only 
on the grass-land, whether lowland steppe or montane alp, and dies 

X Climatic Control 8i 

out rapidly even on the foothills — the forested foothills — of the 
Alps. But he is, of course, at home on the Russian and Hungarian 
steppe, as on the Bulgarian plateau ; and in each case the park-land 
between grass and forest weaned him gradually from the lower 
civilisation of the pastoral nomad to the higher civilisation of the 
tiller of a forest-clearing. As the domesticator of the wild ox and 
the wild horse, which were natives of such park-land, this Round- 
head was the greatest of all the benefactors of Europe ; and it was 
mainly his artificial mobility, as a user of domestic animals, that 
enabled him to impose his rule and language on the dense popula- 
tion of fruit-growers in the area of summer-drought. The Achaeans 
were characteristically known as "Tamers of Horses." 

Access from the Danubian steppe was physically almost as easy 
into Italy as into Greece, and the Italian route had the climatic 
advantage of being skirted by almost continuous alp ; it was, there- 
fore, more suitable to the Itali (" Cattle-men ") branch of the 
Round-heads than the Greek route was to the Achaean branch. 
Not only was the route suited to Cattle-men, but so also was its 
destination. The alp pasture is essentially rich, and the essential 
products of it are cattle, not sheep and goats; and 25 per cent of 
Italy is still pastoral, the main stock being cattle. So the Round- 
heads, in occupying the unforested highlands which had been 
instinctively avoided by the Long-heads, possessed themselves of 
an unoccupied territory which was admirably suited to their own 
hereditary needs, and which commanded the best route between 
the centre of the summer-drought area and the centre of the 
summer-rain area. In spite, therefore, of their small numbers, 
they were able to impose control — political, economic, and even 
linguistic — over the far more numerous and more civilised Long- 
heads of the Fruit-land ; and it is interesting to notice that the 
geometrical centre of Europe, as a continent, is the original spot 
where Nordic, Alpine, and Mediterranean men naturally met. 


Ripley's alternative to the accepted view of the Finns as Ural-Altaic in physique 
as well as speech is stated in the chapter on Russia ; but he ignores the significance 
of their hair being very lightly wavpd. 








The race-home of the old Romans is the centre of the most clearly 
characterised natural region in the Old World ; it is " a long pier- 
head of Europe," almost joining the snowy Alps to the sandy Sahara, 
and almost cutting off the larger, sub-tropical, gulf-girt basin of the 
great midland sea from the smaller, warm-temperate, mountain-girt 

It is in several ways the most typical country of Europe, as a 
" peninsula of peninsulas." For it combines within its frontiers the 
three great types of land form — continental, peninsular, and insular, 
and the two great contrasts of the European climate — summer rain 
and summer drought ; and these advantages helped to make it the 
centre from which the continent was evolved as a political unit, for 
its position gave great facilities for passing on the culture borrowed 
from the sub-tropical basin to the hinterlands of the warm-temperate 
basin, especially via the Ebro and Rhone valleys. 

In modern times the Suez Canal has enabled it to resume this 
task in the economic world, and has restored to it most of the 
influence of which it was deprived by the discovery of the Cape 
route to India. Possibly it would never have lost that influence if 
the Italians had not actually tried to prevent Atlantic expansion and 
to perpetuate Mediterranean methods of navigation with their 
circumscribed sphere. The World reaped the benefit of their long 
experience in navigation, but only through individuals such as 
Columbus and Cabot ; and Italy herself has paid the penalty of 
arriving too late in the field of colonial expansion. 

As the centre of the Old World, Italy acquired a World-dominion 
focused at Rome : all roads led to Rome, the capital of the Republic, 
of the Empire, of the Church ; and world-mastery became a tradition. 
Roman citizenship, therefore, became of infinitely more importance 
than race or — at first — than creed ; all races and all creeds were 
tolerated ; and the one vital need was for means of reaching them 
all. The control exercised by these conditions is visible on all 
sides, e.g. in the self-centred egotism of the people ; the number of 





" foreign " emperors or hybrid marriages ; the tenacity with which 
Venice and Genoa remained friendly with the Saracens while acting as 

transport contractors 
for the Crusaders ; the 
success of the modern 
Italian as a colonist — 
in colonies belonging 
to nations earlier in 
the field. 

The triple variety of Foreign 
land forms must have Environ- 
involved certain differ- 
ences of human de- 
velopment inside the 
area ; and these differ- 
ences of local environ- 
ment were bound to be 
accentuated by differ- 
ences of foreign en- 
vironment — French 
and Austrian, Greek 
and Spanish, all more 
or less connected with 
the Alpine uplift, or 
African and Arab, in- 
fluences from the de- » 
sert, the Arabian in- 
fluence ideally illus- 
trated in the cathedral 
of the ill-fated Messina. 

The presence of Sea 
the sea on three sides, r«>*iti«r- 
as in France, gave 
facilities for commerce 
in three directions, 
and wide commerce 
is always favourable to 
tolerance and cosmo- 
politanism ; but it also 
isolated the area in 
such a way as to render 
defence relatively easy 

Mediterranean area. 

and to encourage political unity, at least in language and creed. 
The sites of nearly all the chief towns, the routes of the chief 
railways, the presence of " sea-coal " everywhere, the number of 
fishermen (over 100,000)— though they "fish" mainly for coral and 


The Continent of Europe 




sponge — all illustrate the sea control. It should be noticed, how- 
ever, that the number of good harbours is very small, especially on 
the Adriatic, where there is not a single adjacent island south of 
Rimini nor a single natural harbour south of Venice ; even the few 
that do exist have curiously limited hinterland ; except in the Po 
basin, there is practically no hinterland with water-transport ; the 
great excess of imports over exports in weight makes it very difficult 
for vessels to get return cargoes ; and the economic position of the 
country with regard to the Suez route and between the industrial 
west and the raw materials of the east tends to minimise the 
importance of the purely domestic and national trade, especially 
since the construction of the great Alpine tunnels. Only 3 per 
cent of the population is engaged in commerce and transport. 

The land frontier has always been a real protection and an 
isolating medium, and has encouraged unity — linguistic, if not always 
political — to the south of it ; but the fact that these tunnels run 
under passes that have been in constant use for centuries — the 
Mont Cenis and the St. Gothard for certainly 2000 years — suggests 
that the isolation has never been complete politically or economically. 
The reason for this is obviously in the physical character of the 
barrier. It is concave towards Italy, and steeper on the Italian than 
on the non-Italian side. The early melting of the snow and ice 
on the south side led to very heavy weathering, which involved a 
steep climb up from the south, while the approach to the scarp from 
the north, e.g. by the Brenner route, was gradual and easy — falling 
nearly 1000 feet more in the first 80 miles south from the Brenner 
than in the first 80 miles north from it. Further, the convergence 
of the valleys on the concave side always made it easier to invade 
Italy from France or Austria than vice versa ; indeed, it was 
impossible for Italy to move by more than one route at a time, for 
increase of distance from the base involved increase of distance 
between the routes. Economically it is specially important that the 
basins of the three great rivers, Ticino, Adda, and Adige, give 
access almost due north and south. 

The precise frontier illustrates one result of the political disunion 
which we may presently associate with the internal relief of the land, 
for that disunion enabled the highlanders to encroach on what was 
linguistically Italian. Towards France it is approximately the crest 
of the Alps ; but two things are significant. On the one hand, 
barren, lonely heights can watch and control — for good or ill — the 
valley roads ; and thus the position of Savoy astride of Mont Blanc 
was so dominating that it enabled a Savoy king to give unity to 
modern Italy by taking advantage of political trouble on the outward 
flanks of the Alps in i860, 1866, and 1870. Savoy, however, was 
naturally the price that had to be paid to the French for their help 
towards the first great effort in i860. On the other hand, the 

XI Italy 85 

seaward end of the actual frontier-line should be the ridge of the 
Maritime Alps which forms the water-parting between the Roja and 
the Paillon basins, and which reaches the sea at C. Martin. 
Similarly towards Austria the seaward end should be the water- 
parting ridge of the Julian Alps where they abut on the extreme 
north of the Gulf of Trieste. 

The approaches to the great Trans-Alpine railway routes 
introduce other factors. On the one hand, the whole of the Ticino 
and the Adda basins is linguistically, and should be politically, 
Italian, not Swiss. On the other hand, the Adige valley, like the 
Danube valley, has been too much of a thoroughfare to give any 
natural site for a frontier. The present site, where the river drops 
on to the lowland at Borghetto, may be accepted physically, 
especially as it crosses Lake Garda — just as the long Lake Maggiore 
is crossed in the Ticino basin — along a line of minimum population 
and therefore of minimum disturbance of human associations ; and 
the lake, in each case, with its easy navigation, was a natural terminus 
of the mountain journey. But economically the whole of both the 
Adige and the Garda basins should be in Italy, and the linguistic 
frontier is just north of Trent, although the mountaineers have 
overflowed on to the fertile lowland of the Po. 

The most important features of the internal geography are the Small 
size, the shape, and the natural divisions. The small size, less than Area, 
that of the British Isles, was an unmixed benefit in early historic 
times ; it involved easy knowledge of the land and its people and 
possibilities, it necessitated the concentration which developed a 
national type, and it based this type on a civilisation in which — 
owing to the restricted area for food-supply — artificial and sedentary 
modes of supplying the needs of life were early substituted for 
primitive and nomad modes. 

As far as the shape is concerned, the fundamental characteristic Length v. 
is a disproportion between length and breadth, whether viewed as a Breadth, 
whole or as two areas, continental and peninsular. Its greatest length 
is about 700 miles, i.e. a little longer than Great Britain, while its 
average width is not a quarter of that. The continental basin alone 
has an extreme "length" from east to west (350 miles) at least 
three times its average " width " from north to south ; the peninsula 
is normally less than 100 miles wide from east to west, and even 
that is " halved " by the Apennines. The area was, therefore, too 
long for its width to be easily ruled in early days from a single centre, 
especially while the Po valley was still forested and water-logged. 
It was this difficulty which forced on the Romans the necessity for 
covering the whole land with a skeleton of great roads, properly 
paved and bridged, and running — as no doubt the Tiber valley 
suggested from the very first — up the great river-valleys ; and it was 
not insignificant that they took their name from the roma or groma. 


The Continent of Europe 




" the four cross roads " which crossed at the Forum, and that their 
priestly kings were essentially pontifices, "bridge-builders." 

Peninsular isolation with varied relief is most favourable to the 
development of marked individuality in a people. And the natural 
division into three separate areas accentuates the differences of 
climate, with the consequent differences of occupations and interests, 
that are implied in the great length of the country from north to 
south ; and it was on these differences that the political disunity of 
the area was based. 

By far the most important division, except in actual size, is the 
continental one ; and it may itself be subdivided into two parts of 
very unequal importance, — the old basin of the Po, which lies west 

S W I T Z j E R/iT^' N D I .-: --Sr-^^. ^A ^ 


'■■■ ^'- ^I? 

■■■>' y 


Longitude 8 East 

Stanford's Ceog.' £sCadF, London. 

The Po and Ptave basins. 

of the old mouth of the river at Ferrara, being very much more 
important than the " Venetian " plain. This importance is essentially 
based on its character as an old gulf of the Adriatic filled with 
alluvium from the mountains that shut it in on north, west, and 
south ; and this in turn accounts for its low and level surface, its 
fertility and ease of cultivation, and its original superabundance of 
forest and marsh. The overwhelming importance of the Alps over 
the Apennines in this connection depends on their greater height, 
their greater exposure to the wet winds, their greater steepness ; 
the Po drops 5000 feet in its first 20 miles; the rainfall on the 
northern boundary of the plain is always over 40 inches, while that 
on the southern boundary is sometimes only 20 ; and the average 
height of the glaciated Alps is over 12,000 feet, while that of the 

XI Italy 87 

Apennines is under 6000. The force of the Alpine inflow is, 
therefore, so much stronger than that from the Apennines that the 
Po is shoved southward to the very spurs of the latter, as under 
similar circumstances the Danube is shoved southward against the 
Bulgarian scarp and the Ganges against the scarp of the Dekkan. 
And this southward movement of the line of the river involves the 
greater width of plain having a slight southward, i.e. sunward, slope 
close enough up to the Alps to get the maximum of shelter. 

These conditions, accentuated by the low level, the natural Its River 
fertility, and the ease of cultivation, have made the area enormously Regime, 
productive in modern times, as they made it enormously attractive 
to round-headed mountaineers in early times ; but they imply 
reasons for the late political and economic development of the plain. 
For the number of rivers feeding the main stream from the north 
involved a maximum number of obstacles to communication east- 
and-west, while the forest and marsh were equally adverse to com- 
munication north-and-south. Such an area was bound to have a 
low swampy " island and lagoon " coast ; and its condition and 
even its size were bound to be much changed by the banking of 
the Po, east of the last spur of the Apennines near Piacenza. This 
was rendered necessary by the regime of the river, which — though 
nominally navigable by steamer to Valenza — is rough at high water 
and silted at low water ; and the embanking was both a protection 
against flood and a means of confining the low-water current so as 
to give it a maximum scouting power. The consequent facilities 
for irrigation account for the high value of the rice crop (over 
;^2, 500,000 a year); but the fertilising floods, instead of being 
naturally spread over the riverine lands, are now carried down to the 
sea, extending the delta so rapidly that the Adriatic coast is now 20 
miles from Adria, and the river-bed has been so much raised at the head 
of the delta that the town of Ferrara is actually below the water level. 

Historically, the political importance of the basin has been Its His- 
greater even than its economic importance, for the Alps played a ^^ ^" 
part similar to that played by the Appalachians in the early history 
of North America. They were a useful check on the premature 
expansion of the Romans, as in the Middle Ages on the " Roman " 
claims of the German Emperors ; and when they did let movements 
of people in or out, it was only in small groups and at considerable 
intervals of time and place. The Po basin thus became a natural 
transition area politically as well as physically. To this day purely 
Teutonic features may be traced round the Italian outlet of the 
Brenner route, as purely French dialects are used in Piedmont, and 
as markedly round heads are found over the whole plain — thus 
incidentally minimising ethnic difficulties at the various times when 
the plain has been politically attached to a purely Continental 
Power located in Alpine Europe. All the various elements — 


The Continent of Europe 


including Saxon, Slav, and Bulgar — even of the Lombard invasion — 
were apparently absorbed by the dense population into which they 
intruded; but they infused that population with influences, physical 
and otherwise, which accentuated the natural differences between 
Northern and Southern Italians as based on the natural differences 
of geographic environment. The same essential conditions underlie 
the saying that " The Po valley has been the cockpit of Europe." 
Penlnsu- The peninsula is threaded by the Apennines from the Altare 

lax Relief. Pass to Cape Spartivento, presenting a steep face to the nearer 

32 '^^ Mile* 

"\r-^ Sicily 


Apennine forelands £23 Alluvium 
Remnanfs of Tyrrhenian crust block. 
^^ Fold system of Alps and Apennines. 

Tectonic map of Italy. 

coast, i.e. to the Adriatic in the northern half and the Tyrrhenian 
Sea in the southern. Similarly, in Liguria, where the range is 
steepest, there is practically no coast strip at all. Indeed, it is the 
steepness and the increase of height eastward of Genoa — up to 7000 
feet — that make the Riviera di Levante so favourable to the growth 
of olive and orange, and that account for the uniformity of human 
type and the purity of the Italian language to the south. At the 
head of the gulf, the Altare, Giovi, and Bochetta passes facilitate 
access inland — by tunnels now — from Savona to Turin and from 
Genoa via Novi to Turin and Milan ; and a tunnel under the La 

XI Italy 89 

Cisa Pass, which separates the Ligurian from the Tuscan Apennines, 
gives a good route between the land-locked gulf of Spezzia and the 
Parma valley. The slopes of the range are extensively forested, 
mainly with chestnut, oak, and beech ; and their upper slopes give 
excellent pasturage. 

The Tuscan and Umbrian sections of the range form the most Main 
important part, not only because here their gentler slope opens out ^*^'" 
westward — while their steeper slope is so inaccessible that it is still 
the site of the independent republic of San Marino — but also 
because the diversion caused by the hard old rock of the Etrurian 
" remnant " gave the range its greatest eastward detour just where 
the wettest winds that ever reach Italy — north of the Barbary and 
Corsican heights — first strike land. Inside this great detour, then, 
there are both room and rain sufficient for largish rivers, the Arno 
and the Tiber ; the hard old rock is rich in mineral wealth, e.g. at 
Carrara and Massa and in the Catena Metallifera ; and the Chiana 
depression between the old rock and the new is so level that water 
flows, according to the wind, into the Arno or the Tiber. Similarly, 
in Latium to seaward of the Tiber valley there is a line of hills 
independent of the Apennines ; but in this case they are volcanic, 
e.g. Monte Amiata, and the volcanic action is seen all over the 
undulating plain of the Roman campagna, showing itself in such 
typical crater lakes as that of Bolsena. 

Farther south the range is divided into three separate chains, Central 
rising from 7000 feet in the west to 8000 in the centre, and to -^P®^- 
nearly 10,000 in the east. Down the windward slope flow such 
rivers as the Nera and the Anio, and between the western and 
central ridges there are such natural basins as that of Lake Fucino 
or Celano ; while between the central ridge, — where Terminillo and 
Velino are snow-capped from November to May, — and the Gran 
Sasso-Maiella barrier the Aquila valley is the coldest place in Italy. 
Lake Fucino, which is exactly in the middle of the peninsula, is 
about 2200 feet above the sea; and Aquila is 200 feet higher still. 
This central belt is not so difficult to cross as it might seem at first 
sight, however, because the rivers take the sudden bends so 
characteristic in limestone, e.g. the Aterno between the Gran Sasso 
(9560 feet) and Maiella (9170); and thus communication between 
the two fertile lowlands on each side is facilitated even for railways, 
as it was for the old Roman roads, e.g. the Via Salaria. 

Farther south still the three parallel chains are broken up into Southern 
somewhat incoherent groups, closing in on the west and opening Apen- 
out towards the Adriatic. On each side there is again the appear- *^™ 
ance of independent heights, e.g. M. Amiato and M. Gargano, 
isolated from the Apennines by lowland — the Campanian plain and 
the northern tongue of the Apulian plain. But, while the latter 
continues to the "heel" at Otranto, the "toe" of Calabria is 


The Continent of Europe 





entirely mountainous, and from the Sila forest (6300 feet) to the 
sea consists of the same ancient rocks as the Etrurian remnant. 

CHmatically, the typical Mediterranean features of dry heat and 
a cool rainy season are modified by local relief As in India, the 
lower level and remarkable shelter of the northern plain compensate 
for its higher latitude, while the higher level of the southern 
peninsula is accompanied by greater exposure ; so that there is 
some unity of average temperature over the whole area — the mean 
temperature of Udine not differing 10° F. from that of Syracuse. 
But the Po basin is so much cut off from oceanic influences that 
it has considerable extremes, Milan having a normal range of 
over 40"^ F. at a height of under 500 feet above the sea. On the 
contrary, the narrowness of the lowland strip on each side of the 
Apennines minimises the effect of the summer-drought, although 
even in Tuscany camels are not unknown. 

The rainy seasons are, however, not purely of the Mediterranean 
type. North and east of the Apennines the rainy season is late 

autumn, when the land has already 
cooled and the relative warmth of 
the Adriatic leads to local low- 
pressure phenomena — which have 
a significant relation to the unique 
development of seamanship amongst 
the Slavs of the Dalmatian coast ; 
but south and west of the Apen- 
nines there are also winter rains, 
and there are even heavy summer 
rains (25 per cent of the total) 
along the foot of the Alps, e.g. at 
Milan, while in the extreme south 
there may be summer rains (3 per 
cent of the total) from the Trades, 
e.g. at Syracuse. It is largely the 
autumn rains, acting on decaying 
vegetation along the banks of silted rivers from deforested high- 
lands, that account for the prevalence of malaria, to which 80 per 
cent of the southern Italians are subject, and from which 20,000 
of them die every year. Obviously, the disease has had most power 
where the fresh south-west wind has least, i.e. in the lee of Corsica 
and Sardinia, e.g. the Maremmas, the Campagna, and the Pontine 
marshes ; and these are the very places where otherwise the combina- 
tion of heat and moisture might be, and is gradually being made, 
most favourable to agriculture. 

The variations of temperature are curious, the range being 
greatest where the rainfall is greatest and most evenly distributed ; 
and it is this abnormality that largely accounts for the productive- 

The malarial districts of Italy, shown 
in stipple. 

XI Italy 91 

ness of the northern plain, as also for some of the scenic effects in 
the Alps. For the great range of temperature, with its slight effect 
on the ice and its marked effect on the soil of the heights, involves 
great disintegration ; and the removal of the disintegrated material 
leaves sharp peaks and ragged edges, and is said to fill the glacial 
lakes at the foot of the range with the mica — in suspension — to 
which their intense blueness may be attributed. It is not easy, 
however, to trace the source of the said mica in the case of Lake 
Como, which is the deepest lake, some 900 feet below sea level. 

The question of shelter is very important both directly and Shelter, 
indirectly. Indirectly, in the case of the Alps, it is dependent on 
conditions favourable to the development of the fohn wind (cf. 
p. 58) ; directly it is responsible for, e.g. the distribution of rice and 
olive. Thus, in December, Florence is 5° F. warmer than Bologna, 
and Genoa is 5° F. warmer than Florence ; and the Tuscans need a 
charcoal-burning hand-stove when the Tramontano ("Wind from 
across the Mountains ") blows, — as the Dutch need a peat-burning 
foot-stove against their ground-damp, — and their characteristic cloth- 
ing is of linen in summer and fur in winter. So, on Lake Como 
the sites of Bellano looking north and Varenna looking south have 
given rise to the saying : " If you wish to anticipate Hell, go to 
Bellano in winter and Varenna in summer." And there is a similar 
saying about Arona and Angera on Lake Maggiore. Thus, olives 
are found right up under the Alps (46° N.), and then disappear, only 
reappearing south of the Apennines ; for the winter cold — which 
accounts for the terrible suffering of the poor in winter — in the south 
of the Po plain is fatal to them, although the summer heat in the 
same place is great enough for rice. The worst cold, however, is in 
the intermont valleys in the east of the peninsula that are exposed to 
the Bora in winter, e.g. Aquila and Potenza ; for the mountains are 
covered with snow — heavy falls occurring even in June — the valleys 
open northward, and the constant Low -Pressure system on the 
Adriatic naturally involves northerly winds on the west of the whirl. 
In Naples, i.e. the same latitude as Potenza, " cold is a word." 

Everywhere, however, there is a very large percentage of sunshine. Sunshine, 
from 45 to 54 per cent of the possible total for the latitude ; and 
this means an average of fully three hours more sunshine every day 
all the year through at Rome than, e.g. at York. Indeed, the 
Roman's horror of rain — as illustrated by the fact that every other 
carter, peasant, and beggar carries an umbrella, as every other horse, 
donkey, and ox wears a mackintosh — is mainly due to its association 
with the cold and sunless season. On the other hand, the associa- 
tion of heat with the absence of rain leads to a great deal of 
outdoor life, e.g. in cafe and promenade, and accounts for the 
wonderful preservation of old buildings — where man has let them 
alone — in contrast to their speedy weathering in climates where the 


The Continent of Europe 


r* liM In. Hu iri. :.!iT. in. in. >gc Sir. c:i. in On. 1^ 









































m: m 

klkn » 



N I. 



Rainfall and temperature of Turin 
and Naples. 

expanding power of heat is associated with the denuding power of 
rain, e.g. on the Thames Embankment, where Cleopatra's Needle has 
weathered more in the last 1800 weeks 
than in the previous 1800 years. 

Farming. Under such circumstances, it is 

not surprising that, in spite of the large 
proportion of useless land (12 per 
cent), more than 30 per cent of the 
total population is engaged in agricul- 
tural or pastoral occupations ; grain 
and grass, fruit and fibres, are all 
typical ; and in regard to all there are 
peculiar advantages and disadvantages. 
The latter are largely historical. On 
the one hand, reckless destruction of 
forest has led to such silting-up of 
rivers and water-logging of riverine lands that malaria either makes 
large areas quite useless or compels the cultivators to live at a 
considerable distance from their work, involving an immense waste 
of time and toil in getting to and from it ; and this is complicated 
by drought in the peninsula and by hailstorms in the north — when 
a cold upper current from the Alps drops into the " hot-house " 
of the Po plain. The south is cursed, too, by the inheritance of 
Bourbon methods of holding land, under which an absentee sublets 
a large estate to be worked by hired labour ; and it was specially 
in the Bourbon area that the land was deforested to pay Bourbon 
taxes, — that need for mutual help against the infamous Bourbon 
police led to the formation of secret societies, — and that questions 
of Temporal Power made it impossible for a good patriot to be a 
good " Christian," and made brigandage profitable. 

Tuscany. On the other hand, much of the land is naturally very fertile, 

especially in the volcanic area round Naples, on the mixed soil of 
Tuscany, and in the alluvial north, where vines may be seen climb- 
ing up mulberry trees which overshadow growing maize. The 
climate encourages the use of vegetable rather than animal food, and 
this in turn encourages a dense population, so that neither labour 
nor market is lacking ; and fortunately where the average conditions 
are naturally best — in Tuscany, — historically the system of holding 
land has practically combined the advantages of "large" and 
" small " farming. For both landlord and tenant are directly and 
jointly interested in the land ; the mixed crops and the normal 
rotation give work evenly distributed all through the year, e.g. 
harvest varying from wheat in June, through wine, to oil in 
December, and the consequent wide experience trains an adaptable 
as well as an industrious type of man. Indeed, the good reputation 
of the Italian colonists in the New World a generation ago was 

XI Italy 93 

largely due to the considerable percentage of Tuscans, driven to 
emigrate by the smallness of their farms (30 acres) and the con- 
sequent small demand for labour. 

The most important cereal is wheat, which occupies a large pro- Wheat, 
portion of the arable land (18 p.c), but averages only 1 2 bushels 
per acre. This low yield is partly due to the fact that in Tuscany it 
is grown as a spring crop, and is intentionally " crowded," with the 
result that there is a very quick growth of the " leggy " and pliable 
kind needed in the straw-plait industry of Leghorn, Pisa, and other 
Tuscan towns. Somewhat similar conditions prevail in the north of 
the Venetian plain, e.g. near Vicenza, the straw-plaiting itself being 
a domestic and rural industry, while the making of the hats is a 
factory and town industry, e.g. at Marostica. The girls (some 
20,000) who plait the straw, seem also to attend to its cultivation on 
the barren foothills of the Piave basin, where climatic conditions 
made the grain as valueless as the straw is valuable — for its pale 
colour, its elasticity, and its lustre. The hard wheat of the more 
droughty areas, e.g. Apulia, is specially used in the making of macaroni 
and other alimentary pastes ; and much the same conditions are found 
just in the lee of the Apennines, e.g. round Parma. It is the large 
industry in such pastes that accounts for the huge imports of wheat, 
Russia alone sending supplies to the value of ;^9, 400,000 in 1910. 

Maize is a typically summer crop of the moister lands, as wheat Maize, 
(for grain) is a winter crop of the drier lands ; it occupies nearly 
half as much area as wheat, but is much more widely spread. 
Indeed, it is cultivated almost everywhere as an alternative crop, 
partly because it can follow, e.g. hemp, so that two crops can be 
reaped off the same land in one summer, — partly because it is very 
prolific, giving a large return on a small expenditure, — and partly 
because maize polenta is essentially stodgy, so that a little goes a 
long way. The poor quality of the grain, however, in many parts 
is so deleterious that it renders the peasants too weak to resist the 
poisonous attacks of the sand-flies which carry pellagra. 

The high spring and autumn temperatures in the Ticino Rice. 
lowlands, the facilities for irrigation, and the high latitude, combine 
to make the rice of supremely good quality in Lombardy and 
Piedmont. Good rice is also grown round Ravenna and Salerno, 
and the Italian peasant is accustomed to laborious cultivation, such 
as rice needs ; but the attraction of mosquitoes to the rice-lands 
and the competition of monsoon lands, where natural floods restore 
the land annually after the ravages of such an enormously prolific 
crop, are leading to a considerable reduction in the rice area. At 
the same time, better cultivation has slightly increased the yield 
per acre. Novara and Pavia are much the most important provinces 
in acreage and total yield, the yield per acre being usually highest 
in Pavia and Mnntua. 


The Continent of Europe 


Pasture: Pasture stands next in importance to grain-growing, and the 

Cattle. relative value of the various kinds of stock — as compared with the 
British — is a significant comment on relief, climate, and distribution 
of population. Thus cattle, which are much the most important, — 
being valued at some ^^90,000,000, — stand to British cattle as 5 
to 7, while sheep are only as 6 to 26 ; and this represents roughly 
the relative value of irrigated (naturally or artificially) and un- 
irrigated pasture. The natural water-meadows along the banks of 
the Po are mainly devoted to dairy cattle, especially in Emilia ; and 
irrigated meadows both in Emilia and in Lombardy are similarly 
used. The milk is everywhere made into cheese, which in Emilia 
takes its name usually from the old Duchy of Parma, — though now 
made specially round Lodi, — and in Lombardy takes its name from 
the town of Gorgonzola, In the Tuscan and Roman maremmas, 
as along the Chiana valley, the natural water-meadows are devoted 
especially to the fattening of foreign cattle, e.g. from Switzerland. 
In the north, too, a great deal of hay is made, irrigated meadows 
yielding sometimes nine crops in as many months. 
Pasture: Sheep-farming is still largely a semi-nomad occupation and 

Sheep. confined to the drier parts of the country, for the flocks are brought 
down to the plains in winter, falls of snow on the Apennines being 
so heavy that in some villages communication between house and 
house can only be conducted by tunnels through the snow. The 
chief centres are the Alpine slopes of Piedmont, which are very 
much in the lee of the Alps, — the Central Apennines in Umbria 
and Abruzzi, — and the Southern Apennines in Apulia, 
Basilicata, and Calabria, where, however, the weight of washed 
wool per sheep is small. In the northern half of the country the 
local supplies of wool support local woollen industries, especially in 
Piedmont and Tuscany (cf. the old Banker wool-merchants of 
Florence) j in the southern half — where the bright light is 
particularly favourable to the bleaching of the skins — the chief 
"pastoral" industry is in glove-dressing, Naples handling some 
3,000,000 sheep and goat-skins a year, and converting the very 
tough gut, e.g. of Foggia, into violin-strings by treating it with the 
local sulphur. The number of sheep, and still more of goats, is 
decreasing, however, largely owing to new forest laws ; but the total 
amount of wool raised is still valued at ;;^2, 000,000 a year, Tuscany 
and Latium producing the largest quantity, while Piedmont and 
Venetia show the heaviest weight per sheep. In consequence of 
the decreased supply at home, there is a growing import of wool 
(raw, washed, and combed), mainly from Argentina, Australia, and 
France ; but the best lamb-skins in the world (for gloves) still 
come from Italy. 
The Vine. The vine is cultivated practically throughout the whole country, 

and wine is the universal drink ; but the area under vineyards is 

XI Italy 1 95 

relatively small in the north. The large percentage of bright sun- 
light, the high September temperature (60° F. being an optimum), 
the abundance of cheap labour, the cool equable cellars in the 
tufa or the natural crotti in the limestone, the local supplies of 
sulphur for treating the vines, are all favourable to the wine 
industry ; and Italy stands second in the whole world for quantity. 
But the quality is inferior. This is to some small extent due to 
the latitude, which is really favourable only to the heavier type 
of white wine, e.g. Marsala, and which does not guarantee a dry 
harvest-time (September -November, according to locality); but 
it is mainly due to bad methods. The large owners are "too 
proud" to purify — they call it "adulterate" — their wines, while the 
small owners are too ignorant and too poor to store the wine 
properly or to treat the vines properly ; so that the wines will 
rarely keep for any time. The best " export " wines come naturally 
from the least backward provinces, e.g. the Asti of Piedmont and 
the Chianti of Tuscany ; but some of the local growths that are 
used locally, especially those of Capri and Vesuvius, have a great 
reputation. Over-production was a real danger, but has been 
minimised by the ravages of the phylloxera and peronospora. 
Cork and vat-wood (chestnut) are local products. 

The olive is more characteristic than even the vine, and — like The Olive. 
the chestnut — an essential part of the people's food ; and Italy 
is the first country in the world for the quantity of olive-oil pro- 
duced, and equals France in quality. In the south the tree 
flourishes without any shelter, and there are continuous woods of 
nothing but olives, e.g. round Bari and Lecce ; and in some 
parts e.g. at the shipping-port of Gallipoli, there are wonderful 
" natural cisterns " in the limestone available for the clarify- 
ing of the oil. Here, too, the winter rains guarantee " power " 
for the mills exactly at the right time ; and there is abundance of 
cheap labour, — from labourers willing to pick for nineteen or 
twenty hours continuously ! But the olive, like the vine, is a 
warm-temperate rather than a sub-tropical product ; and the finer 
oil comes from the higher latitudes. The tree can flourish in 
latitude 46° N. — right up under the Alps, but disappears from 
the Po plain, where the climate is too extreme ; and even when 
it first reappears, south of the Apennines, it requires some protection 
in the areas which produce the finest oil. The superiority of the 
Tuscan oils, e.g. from Lucca and Pisa, is due partly to the under- 
ground heat, which is also evidenced by the number of thermal 
springs. The finest quality is won by hand-crushing, as the finest 
wine is made by foot-crushing, for machinery in each case is apt 
to bring out unpleasant astringent properties. The wood of the 
olive, like that of the walnut for which Italy is also famed, shows 
the influence of summer-drought on colour. Cf. p. 71. 


The Continent of Europe 


Citron. The various kinds of citron, or agrumi, — all, like maize and 

tobacco, relatively modern importations, but from the Old World, 
not the New, — are specially important in the south ; and even 
there they are largely confined to the hinterland of the Tyrrhenian 
Sea, where the " intermediate " climate produces, e.g. oranges inter- 
mediate in type between the insular " St. Michaels " and the semi- 
continental "Jaffa." As oranges — though not lemons — are all 
ripe at once, there is need for abundance of cheap labour ; so that 
this industry is again suited to the country. The winter rains, too, 
supply the means of irrigating ; but this is not an unmixed advantage. 
It quickens growth, but tends to incomplete ripening, which makes 
the fruit less palatable, or to excess of juice, which makes it travel 
badly. Various processes in the citric-acid trade are centered at 
Messina and Palermo. Like the almonds, e.g. of Bari, and the figs, 
e.g. of Catanzaro, oranges and lemons enter very largely into the 
foreign commerce of the country. 
Silk— The mulberry is as wide-spread as the vine and — though also 

Mulberry. ^ modern importation — as characteristic as the olive ; and Italy 
holds the first place in Europe and the third place in the world for 
the quantity of silk produced, while it holds the first place in the world 
for quality. Both the human and the climatic notes are important. 
The tree flourishes best in damp heat, but the silk-worms' eggs keep 
best in dry heat ; and irrigation obviously bridges the gulf. The 
shelter of the Alps, especially in the Ticino basin, guarantees the 
necessary six or seven weeks of hot spring (60° F. being desirable). 
The northern plain supplies an abundance of the essential cheap 
labour, with the necessary qualifications of delicate fingers, patience, 
and assiduous carefulness, — mainly for rearing the silk-worms, but 
also for picking and cutting up the leaves, etc. The maximum 
of regular showers in conjunction with perfect shelter makes 
Lombardy more favourable than Piedmont, e.g. Bergamo having 
an almost ideal situation ; but both provinces have had valuable 
external influences, French and Swiss, and the most important area 
is along the provincial frontier in the Ticino valley. On the other 
hand, the summer in the Mediterranean is naturally too dry to 
allow usually of more than one crop of leaves being taken in the 
year, which means only one generation of silk-worms ; and this 
accounts for the almost total absence of " silk " over the whole belt of 
minimum rainfall which lies — in a straight line — between the south- 
west of Tuscany and the south-east of Apulia, in the lee of Corsica 
and Sardinia to the north-west and in the lee of the Apennines 
to the south-east. These conditions limit the available time to 
the spring months, i.e. precisely the time when other farm work 
is most pressing ; so that the industry suits only small holdings, 
especially those where most of the labour can fall on women and 


The Continent of Europe 


tion of 


manufactures, but has also increased the reckless use of wood. The 
Government, however, is doing its best to stop the waste of wood 
and to reafforest ; and the scarcity of fuel, which still involves an 
annual importation of over 9,000,000 tons of coal (mainly British), 
is being compensated for by the development of water-power. For 
this there are quite exceptional facilities, which the reafforestation 
can only increase ; and the proper utilisation of the streams at 
higher levels for industrial purposes would naturally improve the 
facilities for using them at lower levels for agricultural purposes. For 
instance, the diversion of the river Sele from the Tyrrhenian Sea to 
the Adriatic has not only supplied two droughty provinces with 
much-needed water, but also led to a material improvement in the 
drainage of the malarial plain of Salerno. 

It is estimated that the total amount of hydraulic power available 
exceeds 5,000,000 h.p., at least half of which can be supplied by 
"efficient" waterfalls (numbered at over 24,000); and this is 
distributed in proportions of nearly 40 p.c. in Northern Italy, and 
fully 25 p.c. in Central Italy. Already the fuel question has been 
practically eliminated in the cotton industry ; and similar develop- 
ments are going on in all sorts of industries in all parts of the 
country, e.g. at Genoa and Spezia, Brescia and Bergamo, in the 
dyeing of Schio, the woollen industry of Novara, the cheese-making 
of Lecco, the manufacture of aluminium from the Aquila bauxite, 
the steel-works of Terni. Indeed, in Northern Italy not only all the 
small cities, but groups of villages also, are supplied with power in 
this way ; and it is exceedingly improbable that, in any conceivable 
duration of drought, the available power would ever fall below 
2,000,000 h.p., even that on the west coast between Genoa and 
Naples never falling below 500,000. 

One of the chief considerations in the economic distribution of 
people is the proximity of this water-power to the most productive 
agricultural areas, and the advantage of this has been increased by 
the fact that the great historic towns are normally found on " Pied- 
mont " sites between the source of power and the source of food. 
For instance, the typical site in the north is above the swamp of the 
old " Gulf" plain, below the mountains, where a valley deploys from 
the latter on to the former, and at the lowest point in the transition 
" Piedmont " area where the river, if present, could best be bridged, 
e.g. Milan and Brescia, Verona and Vicenza, or Piacenza and Parma, 
Modena and Bologna. At the eastern end of each line there was 
an obvious alternative between clinging to the valley-mouth, e.g. at 
Treviso and Rimini, or making a direct line for the sea, e.g. at 
Venice via Padua or at Ravenna. Of course, towns were bound to 
spring up along the line of the main river ; but there, too, the sites 
show the importance of the bridge and of avoiding the swamp, all 
the chief towns being characteristically east of a confluence, so 

XI Italy 99 

saving one bridge and avoiding the marsh between the converging 
rivers. Thus, Pavia is to the east of the Ticino, Piacenza east of 
the Trebbia, and Cremona east of the Adda. 

Milan, or Mediolaneum, as the " Middle-plain " site, illustrates Milan, 
almost every point at issue. It stands about 500 feet above the sea, 
in the middle of the fertile Lombard plain, about half-way between 
the 300-foot contour that edges the Po flats and the 600-foot contour 
of the Piedmont terrace. It is thus between pastoral and agricultural, 
montane and lowland, areas, where summer-drought is unknown, 
and yet where — thanks partly to the smallness of its local stream, 
the Olona — floods are also unknown. Its facilities for communica- 
tion no doubt reflect the strategic dangers which in olden days made 
the forging of sword-blades the typical industry, as the tallness and 
relative fairness of the surrounding population reflect the ease with 
which " Long-beards " pressed southward via the Rhine and Rhone 
and Inn basins. It is still a great agricultural market, but silk has 
become more important than flax ; and it is still a great nodal 
junction, but cutlery has displaced armour, as motor-cars have 
displaced the old mule transport. The causes of its slow develop- 
ment in the past imply, therefore, the causes of its modern success ; 
free communication and diversity of economic interest, local and 
international, have raised it to a great metropolis with a population 
of over 600,000. 

Its natural rivals were the two " End-plain " sites of Turin and Turin. 
Venice. The position of Turin upon " Piedmont " levels and 
between two great converging rivers suggests at once an essential 
difference of environment. With double access via Susa to the 
Lower Rhone, and at the head of navigation on the joint river, it 
too had a geographic nodality ; but the purity of the Alpine Round- 
head type in the local population implies an isolation which made 
it a safe capital for Piedmont and even for Italy during the early 
struggle for unity (i 860-1 861), as its old name Augusta Taurinorum 
implies a pastoral rather than an agricultural area. It is still the 
headquarters of the woollen industry. 

Venice presents a direct contrast to Milan, for the conditions of Venice, 
its old success have been its greatest drawbacks in modern times, 
though it still remains the seaward end of an important west-and- 
east land route and the landward end of an important south-and- 
north sea-route. Its site is 120 islands on the edge of 200 square 
miles of lagoon, which once formed the central sea of the " Seven 
Seas " between the famous old Roman port of Aquileia and the old 
Ostro-Goth capital of Ravenna, each now 6 miles inland. These 
islands are inside the incomplete storm-beach of the Lido ; for it is 
precisely here that the gales from the constant Low-Pressure system 
over the Adriatic in winter drive the surf against a sloping shore of 
coarse shingle — rich in material for mosaic-work— while the south- 


The Continent of Europe 


ward trend of the tide down the western coast of the Adriatic has pre- 
vented the silt of the Po and the Adige from filling up the gaps in the 
beach. Three or four good channels, therefore, remain open, the best 
being in the lee of the rialto (" high bank ") ; and this has now been 
artificially deepened to 30 feet, while the lagoon has been joined to 
the mainland by a railway bridge of 222 arches (2^ miles). 

Here was a natural refuge, e^. from Hun and Lombard, with 
enough tide to puzzle the dwellers round the " tideless" Mediterranean, 
so protecting it by land and sea, e.g. from Pepin and the Genoese, 
and to make it fairly sanitary. Made naturally healthy by the 
fresh winds to which the beach owed its very existence, and rich in 
shore-feeding fish, e.g. red mullet, and in the means for evaporating 


Venice : the islands, canals, and lagoon. 

the invaluable salt, Venice began its career early, and got an 
initial advantage which it preserved for centuries. All raids on 
Italy after the fifth or sixth century helped to build up Venice, 
with a population of refugees devoted to personal liberty and so to 
repubUcan forms. Easy access to the sea that led to the fabulous 
East, and across the fertile plain to the Alpine passes, gave her 
command of the greatest medieval trade-route, e.g. for transport of 
Crusaders seaward, or of costly gems and spices landward ; and the 
Orient trade brought such wealth and consequent leisure as to favour 
the local development of artistic industries, e.g. in damask, glass, 
and gold lace. 

Of the other well-known cities on the northern plain, most 
have had their real importance exaggerated by strategic considera- 
tions which have been essentially adverse to them, e.g. Mantua and 
Verona (in its river-loop) ; and the best natural site, that of Bologna, 




The Quadrilateral. 

Knurr WftJkvr » 

has suffered from the relative ease of communication between 
continental and peninsular Italy, as illustrated by the absence of 
" Alpine " intruders in the north-west of Tuscany and the constant 
presence of them in Umbria and the Marches. In the time of the 
Ostro-Goth emperors, however, 
Bologna, like Ravenna, pro- 
fited by proximity to Byzantine 
influences, seen at Bologna in 
its possession of the oldest 
university in Europe, and at 
Ravenna in the remains of 
Byzantine architecture. The 
peaceful development of 
modern times involves the 
manufacture of flax products 
at Bologna and Ravenna, as 
of hemp products at Cremona 
and Mantua ; and the Poretta 
Pass to the Arno valley has made Bologna an important cross- 
country railway junction. 

The peninsula cities illustrate the same general controls, and have Peninsu- 
somewhat similar inter-relations, e.g. between Rome and Florence, ^ Sites. 
Naples and Genoa ; but their history has been materially modified 
by the peninsular isolation, as illustrated by the purity of the long- 
headed Mediterranean race and their Italian tongue. In the case of 
Florence and Rome this isolation has been accentuated by the 
paucity of natural harbours both in front and in the rear, and by the 
practical absence of water access, though both cities stand nominally 
on navigable water, and had seaports in Pisa and Ostia. 

Rome, like Venice, had an early start ; and the volcanic hills on Rome. 
which it stands gave it as much protection after 400 B.C. from 
destructive floods and malaria as in earlier times from fertilising 
floods and political foes. It had the advantage of being on the edge 
of Latium, the " Broad-plain," which meant both fertility and a 
navigable river ; and the presence of islands in the river greatly 
facilitated the first engineering works of the bridge-builders. The 
distance from the mouth of the river (14 miles) was a great protection 
against pirates and invasion, even in days when vessels drawing 12 
feet of water could come up to the island on which stood the temple 
of ^sculapius, the Healer. The volcanic rock was easy to quarry 
and to cavern (cf. the Catacombs), the river itself protected most of 
the city from attack from over the broad plain, and the position was 
fairly central for the peninsula proper. 

Florence, like Milan, though for a different reason, started late ; Florence, 
indeed, it is scarcely mentioned before the days of Sulla, and could 
not have existed before the draining of the lake which once covered 

I02 The Continent of Europe ch. 

the lowlands (25 miles long and 1 1 wide, and under 200 feet above 
sea-level) between Florence and Pistoia. The old tramontana road, 
therefore, crossed the Apennines by the La Futa Pass, not by the 
modem railway route via Pistoia and the Reno valley. Nor was 
the district much thought of by the Etruscans — though relics of an 
old Cyclopean fortress still crown the hill of Fiesole (970 feet) — 
because it is away from the metalliferous strata. At the same time 
Tuscany is essentially the heart of Italy, as the Tuscan dialect is the 
best Italian ^ and one reason in each case is the isolation of a fertile 
area. How great this isolation is naturally may be gauged by the 
sharp distinction between the Alpine Broad-heads on the Emilian 
slope of tlie Apennines and the Mediterranean Long-heads in the 
Arno basin ; indeed, there is anthropological evidence that every- 
where north of Rome intruders normally entered the peninsula from 
the north-east corner by land, as south of Rome they entered from the 
south-east by sea. Florence was thus a natural site for the capital 
of Italy, as it actually was in the second era of the struggle for 
unity (1865-187 1) ; and Tuscany inherited something from the early 
days of Etruscan civilisation, which seems to have had some relation 
to the meeting of Alpine and Levantine traders round the richest 
mineral deposits known on the Orbis Terrarum. 
Genoa. Genoa, like Milan, as suggested by the presence of broad-headed 

intruders, is a gap city ; and it owed its old supremacy to its 
monopoly of the one good harbour on an inhospitable coast, to its 
easy access inland, and to its local supplies of timber for shipbuilding. 
But its modern development is mainly due to entirely extraneous 
causes — the cutting of the Suez Canal and the Alpine tunnels ; and, 
but for local obstacles, it would have been greater even than it is. 
The home hinterland is not large enough (perhaps a population of 
9,000,000), and its industries are not such as to supply the port 
with an export trade anything like equal to its import trade ; 
and while the imports are mainly heavy and bulky goods, coal and 
iron, timber and grain, which — especially in view of the costly 
railway transport through the Alpine tunnels — must travel by water, 
the exports can afford to go by land, e.g. silk and olive-oil, eggs and 
fruit. The result of this is such congestion in the port itself, and 
still more on the lines through the Apennines, that the port cannot 
serve its foreign hinterland properly; for instance, Russian grain 
reaches Switzerland in the proportion of about 100,000 tons ina 
Rotterdam, 90,000 via Marseilles, and only 55,000 via Genoa. 
The same is true, e.g.^ of the cotton imports into Zurich, though 
Genoa is much the nearest cotton-port. Indeed, some cotton reaches 
even the Po valley via Bremen. Part of the difficulty is caused by 
the opposition of the local Labour Associations to the increase of 
railway facilities, especially between Genoa or Sampierdarena and the 
great junction of Novi ; but the great difference in the outward and 

XI Italy 103 

inward traffic, — nearly 5,000,000 tons passing in, and only 300,000 
coming back, — and the fact that the great coal imports arrive mainly 
during the vintage, enormously complicate the question of supplying 
wagons, in spite of the electrification of the traffic through the Giovi 
tunnel and a funicular line for the transport of coal from Savona to 
S. Giuseppe. 

Naples is somewhat in the same position, except that its hinter- Naples, 
land and the basis of its modern progress are strictly national, not 
international. As a fine natural harbour, on the edge of a very 
fertile plain, with a dense, poor, and clever population, it had many 
natural advantages ; and these were increased by the recent creation 
of a free zone round it. Thus, with a large local market, easy con- 
ditions of export and import, and practically complete exemption 
from taxation, the city has now become the largest in Italy, with a 
total population (including the suburbs) of 800,000. The artificial 
impulse has, however, been rather prejudicial to the old industries, 
and over-production is widespread, especially in the textile industries ; 
and at the same time the development of factories has completely 
destroyed a useful source of supplementary earnings from home 
industries, such as wood-carving and lace-making. One great 
advantage is that, like Genoa, the port has practically no rival, 
Leghorn being 200 miles north, Messina at least 150 miles south, 
Bari more than 100 miles east, and Brindisi 50 miles farther still. 

With a dense and largely vegetarian population Italy must have an Labour. 
abundance of cheap labour ; and this is generally of a high standard, 
with centuries of inherited skill, especially in the handling of stone — 
from mosaic work and marble-cutting to road-making and bridge- 
building. There is also abundance of water-power ; and most of 
the actual water is of unusual purity, and therefore invaluable in 
textile industries. Further, the local raw materials are of great 
excellence — silk and marble, coral and sulphur, hemp and rice. 
The chief drawbacks are the widespread presence of malaria and 
the poverty which limits the people to two meals, of poor food, per 
day, forces them to live in over-crowded houses, and drives them 
abroad or into various forms of gambling and dishonesty. On the 
other hand, the spread of education and commerce, and the discipline 
and unifying influence of conscription, are raising the standard of 
comfort and removing the old jealousies between province and province. 

Industrial development has been easier in the north than the Indus- 
south. Apart from the better climate, the more certain rainfall, the *"®^- 
greater fertility and water-power, the north has been favoured racially 
and historically. The Round-heads represent centuries of economic 
and political conditions favourable to the development of indi- 
vidualism without anarchy ; they have been inoculated with Northern 
ideas, though the total influx of Teutons probably never reached 
100,000 persons ; and they have been largely under Austrian 


The Continent of Europe ch. xi 

control. All these conditions combined to develop a burgher 
population, with business-like habits; for every 15 illiterates in 
Piedmont there are 51 in Naples and 55 in Sicily; for every 13 
murderers in Lombardy there are 25 in Naples and 28 in Sicily. 

Textiles. In the western parts of the continental area, where the extremes 

are.greatest, — Turin having recorded a temperature of 7° R, — animal 
products are more suitable than vegetable products; Piedmont 
specialises more in woollens, e.g. at Biella and Varillo, Turin and 
Pinerolo, while Lombardy specialises more in silks, e.g. at Como and 
Bergamo, Brescia and Milan. In the eastern part of the plain, as on 
the Ligurian coast, animal products are still worked, e.g. the wool 
and silk of Schio and Vicenza ; but the smaller range of humidity 
encourages the working of vegetable products, e.g. the spinning of 
cotton at Pordinone and Chiavari, and the spinning and weaving of 
flax at Bologna and Ravenna. 

jxtm. 1'he greatest development has, however, taken place on strictly 

mechanical lines ; and in this respect the peninsula has been, if 
anything, more favourably situated than the north. The import of 
pig-iron, th.e import of scrap-iron, and the production of pig- 
iron have all doubled in the last five years ; and there are really 
important steel-works at Terni, with power from the falls on the 
Nera, at Savona and Naples, and at Portoferraio ("Iron-harbour"), 
and on the opposite coast at Piombino. Where both ore and fuel 
have to be imported, e.g. at Savona, work is generally confined to 
later processes, e.g. the conversion of imported pig-iron into steel and 
the rolling of rails, etc. ; and in the neighbourhood of great harbours 
there is a good deal of shipbuilding, e.g. at Sestri and Castellamare. 
Other forms of transport plant are also important, e.g. the motor- 
works of the Fabrica Italiana Automobile Torino (F.I.A.T.) at Turin. 

Sicily. Of the dependent islands Sicily is much the most important. 

It is almost entirely agricultural. A great increase in population 
has entirely killed its old importance as an exporter of grain ; but 
the climate and the water-storing properties of its limestone are very 
favourable to the growth of oranges and lemons, which cover the 
coastlands along almost the whole of the east and north coasts from 
Catania to Palermo. 

Sardinia. The wild granitic highlands of Sardinia are rich in metals ; but 

the rugged and inaccessible character of the island, and its bad 
climate, have been adverse to its prosperity. It is an island of 
dwarfs — man and beast. The small area, with its small food-supply 
and its bad climate, were always adverse to good physique in man or 
beast ; the best of both were constantly leaving the country, man as 
well as beast being for sale (" Sardi venales ") in earlier times ; and 
constant in-breeding of the resultant inferior types has emphasised 
such typical " Mediterranean " traits as extreme length of head and 
shortness of stature. 



The race-home of the old Vikings is a lonely peninsula which Scandi- 
presents the most marked contrasts to the central peninsula of the ^*y* ^^ 
Mediterranean basin. Like Italy, it is largely mountainous, it has 
a considerable proportion of useless land, and it has been hard to 
govern from a single centre, especially in days of bad communication ; 
but the distribution of relief is profoundly different, and the different 
distribution of relief and the different latitude produce a difference of 
climate which admits of very few common crops. This, again, implies 
that the useless area in Scandinavia is useless from cold, not from 
malaria, and that the political difficulty is connected, not with a 
relative excess of length, but with the presence of a central mass of 
barren highland stretching over about half of the total area. 

More important than all these differences historically were the Patri- 
differences of approach into the area. The early Goths of the ^chal v. 
Germanic steppe, as they moved westward under the pressure of larigt. 
later nomads from the east, found the steppe narrowing with nearness 
to the Atlantic, until it practically disappears at the foot of the 
Schleswig peninsula. On the morainic lake-studded plain, with its 
fertile Baltic and Carpathian margins, these pastoral Goths had 
been tempted into agriculture, and had had an apprenticeship 
to boating ; and, as these conditions were bound to weaken 
patriarchal ties, it was a foregone conclusion that Scania would get 
energetic individuals — via the Danish islands — from the semi- 
patriarchal population of the Brandenburg plain. And the most 
typical features of the peninsula should throw light on the process 
by which it converted this semi-patriarchal inflow into a sternly par- 
ticularist outflow. 

The outflow from the peninsula, especially from the 12,000 Oceanic 
miles of the Norwegian coast, has been one of the greatest political Develop- 
phenomena ; and its causes are still largely operative. For we 
shall find here a population driven by a barren and inaccessible 
hinterland to concentrate on a lonely, but relatively fertile, coastland ; 
and, though this was safe enough to leave them in perfect freedom, 



The Continent of Europe 



East V. 




East y. 

and isolated enough to develop in them a marked individuality, the 
teeming fishing-ground in front decided the lines on which that 
development should run, and made their history oceanic rather than 

The most characteristic feature of the whole area is the " skerry- 
guard " which fringes the coast almost continuously from the mouth 
of the Tornea round to the Varanger fiord. 
It is not fully developed in the Gulf of 
Bothnia, and is entirely absent from the 
recent formation of Scania, where it is re- 
placed to windward by a line of sand- 
dunes ; but it is developed to a unique 
degree between Stavanger and the North 
Cape, and it provides the whole coast, 
except in Scania, with an almost continu- 
ous series of navigable sounds, which are 
at once the scene of a busy and safe 
commerce and a first line of defence 
against foreign attack. It is significant 
that all the artificial harbours of the area 
are on the Scanian coast, e.g. Helsingborg 
and Malmo. 

The eastern " fence " presents some 
marked contrasts to the western. Both 
are usually rugged ; but, while the eastern 
islands are always low and often fertile enough to be well wooded, the 
western ones are always high and barren. Again, the Swedish islands 
increase in size towards the south, i.e. towards the mouths of the 
German and Russian rivers, especially the Vistula and the Niemen, 
and so formed naturally stepping-stones across the Baltic, e.g. Born- 
holm and Gotland ; but the Norwegian islands increase in size 
towards the north, i.e. away from European influence, Hindo (Lofo- 
tens) having an area as large as Warwickshire and rising to 4000 
feet. Under these circumstances it was quite natural — in the days 
before the opening of Archangel, and before the Reformation had 
destroyed the North European demand for fish and tallow (for 
candles) — that Visby should be the metropolis of the Baltic and the 
focus of all trade between Bruges and Novgorod. It was equally 
natural for the Swedes to have trans-Baltic interests and even 

The contrast between the eastern and western "fences" is 
repeated on the coasts behind them. For the hinterland is a block 
of very old rock — too old for coal — which was tilted down to the 
south-east when the old continent of Arctis sank under what is now 
the North Atlantic. The western edge of this fractured block was, 
therefore, elevated and exposed to storm and wave, while the eastern 

Portion of the coast of Norway 
70 miles by 40, showing over 
400 islands. 

XII Scandinavia 107 

edge sank gradually into the sheltered Baltic. While the Swedish 
coast is normally a " bay " coast, therefore, the Norwegian coast is a 
" fiord " coast ; and while the former is tideless — though the current 
out succeeded in the seventeenth century in silting up the famous 
old fishing-ports of Skanor and Falsterbo — the tide in some of the 
narrow sounds on the west is so strong as to be dangerous, e.g. the 
Maelstrom in the Lofotens. At the same time the actual height of 
the tidal wave is not great, and even in the larger fiords it is partly 
masked by the huge outflow of fresh water on the surface — at least 
in summer. 

The human life of Norway, then, centres about a skerry-fenced Fiord Life, 
fiord system, the great national waterway running northward and 
southward inside the skerries, and being fed by the provincial water- 
ways that run eastward and westward up and down the fiords. The 
calm water of these wonderful fishing-grounds is practically never 
frozen, for the submarine sill at the mouth is too high to allow the 
deep current of cold Arctic water to penetrate, while there is nothing 
to stop the warm air and drift from the Atlantic. The typical fiord 
is so narrow that the whole mouth can be easily netted, — though nets 
were not used before the sixteenth century, — and so steep that " you 
have to lie on your back to see the sky " ; but at the head of the 
fiord, where the glacier " took the water," and at similar places along 
the sides, there are wedges of lowland which have been for centuries 
the source of all home-grown food. As the various natural divisions 
of these available patches were too small to be further subdivided, 
they were transmitted entire to one son, the others moving off; and, 
as the parents neither needed their children's help on the small farms 
or in catching the fish at their door, nor were even able to support 
them at home, the other sons moved off early, finding immediate 
sustenance by fishing, but looking to a farm-plot elsewhere for the 
future. To this day the same phenomena persist. Though the 
pastoral and agricultural land does not exceed 1 1 p.c. of the total 
area, it employs about 40 p.c. of the population. 

These were the real Vik-ing, the " Sons of the Calm Water," Vikings, 
and they settled first on the fertile patches along the fiord — for the 
fishing was everywhere equally good, tlie dark-blue water of the fiords 
being usefully " clouded " by the milky water from the glaciers — 
where there was most forest ; and then from behind the natural 
breakwater, with its teeming waters and poverty-stricken hinterland, 
a nursery at once of seamen and of beggars, the Vikings poured out 
to be the Sea-kings of the stormy ocean. For they were heart and 
soul individualists. Young married couples, having no society but 
themselves, and having no " patriarchal " obligations, had chosen each 
other freely ; there was no public life or policy ; man and woman 
being equal, personal responsibility was pushed to the extreme ; 
they *• paddled their own canoes " literally and metaphorically. 


The Continent of Europe 


And it is to this source that we trace the innate individuahsm 
of the Saxons and -the Franks, the Frisians and the EngUsh, the 
poUtical and religious " Protestants " of Northern Europe, Norway 
still has the largest mercantile marine in the world for her popula- 
tion, and it is actually inferior only to those of Britain, the United 
States, and Germany. On the other hand, this individualism left 
great opportunities, which led to great inequalities of wealth ; and, 
once a particular family had become united enough and strong 
enough to build a Viking ship — on a model the essential lines of 
which are still followed by the Norwegian shipwrights — and seize 
an island for their own, they probably enslaved a population of 



Viking raiding-ioutes. 

sts^h'^nrCcct' CsUt* t» 

aboriginal refugees on the island, and they certainly doubled their 
chances of making a successful raid. 

The history of Italy illustrates the advantage in early days of sites 
on the shore of an inland sea, and in this respect Sweden had an 
obvious advantage over Norway ; but even in Norway the essential 
slope of the land is down towards the south-east, and human 
activities gravitated naturally towards the safer waters of the Skager 
Rak — the shores of the Christiania fiord coming to be known as 
" the Vik " — even from Trondhjem. At all times, therefore, but 
specially when the Baltic was " the Great Sea," the coastal strip in 
both countries has been the vital part ; the length of the coast and 
the shape of the country have evolved foci at opposite points of the 
compass ; and all towns of any size are to-day on sea or lake or 
navigable river. 

In each case the most important foci mark the opposite ends of 
a natural depression across the country ; but in Norway the Glom- 
men valley runs north and south, while the lake-studded floor of the 
old strait which once joined the Skager Rak to the Baltic — as its con- 
tinuation joined the Gulf of Finland via Lake Onega and Lake 
Ladoga to the White Sea — runs east and west. In Norway, there- 




fore, we have essentially a North Gate in Trondhjem, and a South 
Gate in Christiania ; in Sweden we have an East Gate in Stockholm, 
and a West Gate in Gdteborg. And the inflow of Christian in- 
truders from Denmark naturally drove the heathen along the line of 
least resistance, so that the last heathen capitals were at Trondhjem 
and Upsala. It was because the last heathen capital had been there, 
that Trondhjem was made the first Christian capital ; and it is still 
the religious capital of Norway, with a population almost exactly the 
same as that of Canterbury, from which it received its original 
ecclesiastical organisation. 

The Christiania fiord, like the Trondhjem fiord, is scarcely typical ; Christi- 
but the very conditions that make them lack grandeur and inacces- ania~ 
sibility, because parts 
of the great depression, 
have increased their 
economic value. Chris- 
tiania does not stand 
on the site of the earlier 
capitals, for the site of 
these was moved suc- 
cessively farther and 
farther up the fiord — 
from near Laurvik to 
near Tonsberg, and 
from Tonsberg to the 
still safer Oslo ; but 
it obviously represents 
the work, if not the site, of the others. Like the other wood-built 
cities, it suffered greatly from fires, and was destroyed by fire a 
generation before the Great Fire of London ; and King Christian IV., 
who rebuilt it, gave the new city his name. 

Half-way by sea between Trondhjem and Christiania the Hansa Bergen, 
commerce needed a depot, and Bergen was chosen. It is character- 
istically not at the mouth, still less at the head, of an important 
fiord ; but it occupies a central site between the great Sogne and 
the Hardanger and Bukker (Stavanger) fiords. This seemed to the 
Hanseatic merchants the pivot of the North Sea trade. 

The same conditions obtain in Sweden. Goteborg represents GSteborg 
the work, if not the actual site, of all the places that have controlled ai^^ Stock - 
traffic round the Skaw and up and down the Gota valley ; and 
Stockholm represents all the famous centres — generally religious or 
royal capitals — on or near the seaward end of Lake Malar. Of 
these, Bjorko was an island depot in the Baltic ; Sigtuna occupied a 
safer position (a.d. iooo) inland on the lake ; Upsala was up a river 
flowing into the lake. Stockholm itself is not an island in the sea, 
nor on the shore of the lake, nor yet on the banks of the river. It 

The site of Christiania. 


The Continent of Europe 






The site of Stockholm. 

is on a group of islands between lake and sea, where the skerry-guard 
is widest (45 m.), i.e. at the precise point where the Viking strong- 
hold of the lake 
emerged from the 
great forest to meet 
the Viking battlefield 
and trading-ground of 
the sea. 

Malmo, unlike 
Bergen, was more than 
a half-way site by sea 
between the two great 
foci. It represented 
the old mart and fish- 
ing - port of Scania, 
which got silted up 
after its town had been 
burnt to the ground by the Hanseats ; and it inherited the trade 
of Lund (" Beech " town), which held the same relation to the beech- 
forest of Scania as Stockholm held to the coniferous forest of 
Svealand. As both conquest and Christianity came from the south, 
Lund became the first Danish capital and the site of the first 
bishopric ; and it is still one of the chief university centres of Sweden. 

The coast-lands are as different as the actual coast-lines. The 
Swedish belt gives easy land-transport and typical " land " occupa- 
tions, and its climate is typically continental, especially in winter. 
It made, therefore, a good base for a military and agricultural 
people ; but it did not justify them in trying to hold trans-Baltic 
territory, of which the vital points, e.g. Stralsund, Riga, Revel, were 
isolated by ice in winter. 

The cause of the great difference in climate between the east 
and the west coasts of the peninsula lies in the character of the relief. 
From north to south down the peninsula there runs a huge, broad back- 
bone, with an average height equal to that of Ben Nevis, and peaks 
of nearly twice that height, e.g. the Galdhopig (8500 ft.) and 
Glitretind (8400 ft.) of the Jotunheim ("Giants' Home"). This 
naturally gives peculiar facilities for holding snow, especially in the 
higher and wetter southern section, where the Jostedalsbrae is 
little more than 50 miles from the ocean and overhangs the broad 
gully of the Sogne fiord ; but even in the northern section the 
Svartisan glacier has an area of 400 square miles, and the Jokel 
glacier actually drops icebergs into the Soro Sound. 

Where the backbone of the relief forms the political frontier, 
i.e. as far south as the northern frontier of Svealand, the steep single 
scarp of the plateau is so near the sea that the Swedish frontier 
below the 7000 feet of Kebnekaisse comes within 6 miles of the 

XII Scandinavia 1 1 1 

Ofoten fiord ; and this nearness to the sea, and the number of 
peaks along the coast south of SuHtalma (6160 ft.) cause the 
whole formation to look from below, i.e. from the Norwegian coast, 
like a boat upside down. Hence its name of Kiolen (" The Keel ") 
given by the Norwegian fishermen ; but eastward it falls in terraces. 

Where the backbone ceases to be the political frontier, it is cut Political 
by the Trondhjem-Christiania depression, which extends seaward rrontier. 
as the Kattegat, — thus giving Norway historically a more intimate 
connection with Denmark than she ever had with Sweden ; and 
this cuts off the long Kiolen from the bulky mass of the Dovre-field 
(" Steep-mountain ") and Jotunheim, themselves separated by the 
lake-filled Romsdal and Gudbrandsdal gullies. This line of least 
resistance is in Norway the " Heart of the kingdom," as the lake- 
studded depression in Svealand is the heart of Sweden ;" and it was, 
therefore, essential that, when the political frontier left the physical 
divide, Norway should have the whole basin of the Glommen as 
a natural unit, and that the political frontier should run approxi- 
mately along the Glommen-Vener divide. In the very thinly-peopled 
north, on the contrary, where there was no chance of disturbing 
natural associations and activities, the great need was simply for an 
easily recognised and indisputable line, which was provided by such 
great rivers as the Tana (180 miles) and the Tornea (227 miles). 
Throughout, however, the frontier is really more a belt than a line, 
and that too a belt of desert ; and where it is actually habitable, it 
is occupied by alien peoples, nomad Lapps, called " Finns " by the 
Norwegians in the north, and real Finns in the south, who further 
emphasise the political divide. 

West of the great plateau backbone the climate must obviously Nor- 
be marine, and its typical phenomenon is precipitation, rain and p*?^^., 
snow falling on at least two hundred days in the year. It is 
specially heavy in winter and towards the south-west, i.e. where the 
highest and steepest relief is combined with low latitude and near- 
ness to warm Atlantic influences. For instance, in the Stavanger 
and Hardanger areas there is an average fall of over 80 inches ; 
but inland in the same latitudes it falls on only half as many days, 
and half of the total fall is in the form of snow. In the Lofoten 
islands the total reaches 60 inches ; but farther north there is a 
sudden decrease, though there is still a large percentage of cloud. 

On, and east of, the plateau the climate is normally continental, Nor- 
and its typical phenomenon is a wide range of temperature. Even w^egian 
in Norway, therefore, there is a strong contrast between the west, ij^^**^* 
with its mild rainy winters and its cool rainy summers, and the 
interior and east, with their warm summers and cold winters. It 
is most significant that the highest mean annual temperature 
(45° F.) and the highest mean winter temperature (35° F) are both 
in the south-west, and that mid-winter there is in February, while 


The Continent of Europe 


the highest summer temperature (62° F.) is in the south-east, and 
mid-summer comes in July. Contrariwise, the lowest mean annual 
temperature (26° F.) is in the interior, i.e. the south-east of Fmmark, 
—with an average 7° lower than farther north, but on the sea-coast 

at Vardo, — and the same area 


Annual rainfall ntap of the Baltic region. 

has the lowest wmter tempera- 
ture ( - 60° F.). The winter 
there is very long, 243 days 
having a mean temperature 
below freezing-point, and the 
normal for December to 
February being 4° F. ; so, 
while the mean temperature 
in the south-east is below 
freezing-point on 120 days in 
the year, the extreme south- 
west is practically free from 
frost. It is equally significant 
that the snow -line on the 
Jotunheim {c. 4000 ft.) should 
be nearly 1000 feet lower than 
on the less exposed Dovre- 
field, and that in the lee of 
both, 250 miles from the sea 
in the south-west, Roros should 
Indeed, on the lower levels 
or 3° lower still ; and the 

have a winter temperature of 1 3 F, 

of the valley near Roros it drops i 

gravitation of the cold heavy 'air causes the winter wind in the 

Skager Rak to blow normally from N.E. 

The general conditions of Central and Eastern Norway are 
repeated and emphasised in Sweden within common latitudes ; but 
the Baltic exercises some climatic influence, and the Kiolen system 
is not broad enough or high enough to deprive Northern Sweden 
entirely of Atlantic influences. Even Sweden, therefore, has not 
a purely continental climate ; but latitude is as important as relief, 
and continental influences are stronger than marine. For instance, 
there is steady latitudinal variation throughout the 1000 miles of 
extension from north to south ; the mean annual temperature on 
the northern frontier is c. 27° F., and on the southern (Lund) is 
45°, while Haparanda has c. 32", Umea 35°, Hernosand, on the 
northern limit of orchard-fruit, 38°, Stockholm 42°. Mid-summer 
comes in July (51° to 62° F. according to latitude), but mid-winter 
comes in February (3° to 30° F.) ; spring begins in the north-east in 
May, but in the south-west in March, while summer begins at mid- 
June in the one and mid-May in the other, and autumn begins at 
mid-August in the one and October in the other. The lakes in the 

XII Scandinavia 113 

north-east freeze in October, and remain frozen for two hundred days ; 
those in the south-west do not freeze till December, and are frozen 
for only one hundred days. Those close up to the foot of the Kiolen 
have a shorter winter than those farther east, i.e. farther away from 
the " fohn " effects of the cross-plateau winds. 

The same conditions are reflected in the rainfall. The average Swedish 
annual fall is about 20 inches, the amount increasing towards the Rainfall, 
south and towards the west, the south-west having fully 35 inches 
(Goteborg). The maximum comes in summer except in the 
marine south-west, where it is typically in autumn, and the 
minimum in spring. In the lee of Oland there is an exceptionally 
small fall, Kalmar having less than 1 5 inches ; but the rest of 
Scania may be compared with the Christiania district, each having, 
e.g.^ fifty days of snow in the year. 

Sweden, again, like Norway, has two centres of minimum cold. Midnight 
The one is in the far north, within a few miles of the Finmark Sun. 
centre, and has about the same temperature (under 4° F. in 
January) ; the other, is across the international frontier from Roros, 
and has about the same temperature as the latter (under 9° F. in 
January). The corresponding reaction in summer is also approxi- 
mately the same in the two countries, length of day compensating for 
shortness of season. The sun is actually visible at " midnight " at 
the North Cape from May 12 to July 29, and is not visible at 
"midday" from November 18 to January 23, while at Trondhjem 
there is no darkness from May 23 to July 20; and this means as 
much to the navigation of the Skerry waters as it means to the 
cultivators of the Swedish lowlands to have the sun visible at mid- 
summer for twenty-three hours every day at Haparanda, and for nine- 
teen hours at Gefle. 

The character and position of the main watershed account for River 
the number and the volume of the rivers, and the slope of the System, 
plateau determines their general direction towards the south-east; 
but, as the plateau sinks to the Baltic from the Kiolen in terraces, 
the course of the chief Swedish rivers is broken by at least three 
falls or sets of rapids, between which there is generally 
a stretch of quiet navigable water. In both countries the rivers 
flow normally in U-shaped glacier-cut valleys, in which morainic 
dams have collected ; but, while these are seldom more than 400 
feet above the sea in the shorter Norwegian rivers, they are at least 
twice as high in Sweden. For instance, Lake Mjosen is about 400 
feet above the sea, while in Sweden all the similar lakes are about 
1000 feet. In each case, however, they occur typically where 
archean and newer strata meet, and are typically long and narrow, 
sometimes occurring in a series, e.g. on the Skellefte and the Lulea, 
the series in the latter being 50 miles long with an average width 
of if miles. In each case, too, there are naturally some 


The Continent of Europe 






magnificent waterfalls, e.g. the Harsprang ; but the Norwegian falls 
are nearer the sea, and have the steadier volume. 

Relatively the Swedish rivers are much the more important, and 
have the marked advantage of flowing independently of one another, 
but more or less parallel with one another, to separate mouths in the 
Baltic. Thus, there are 60 important rivers emptying into the 
Baltic between Tornea and Gefle. A dozen of these have an 
average length of fully 200 miles, with a total fall of 1500 feet so 
distributed that the current is normally enough for " free " floating 
without being enough to cause bad " jams," the average pace being 
about two miles an hour, and the total length of water being about 
16,000 miles. 

The unique value of the rivers is due to the fact that the typical 
climatic control of the peninsula takes the form of forest-growth, 
about 50 p.c. of the total area in Sweden and about 21 p.c. in 
Norway being forested. In both countries the moistness of the sub- 
soil, the absence of wind in the resting season, the sufficiency of 
heat in the growing season, are very favourable to tree-growth ; but 
these conditions are found mainly to the east of the water-parting, 
where too the short summer makes the annual " rings " so close 
that the wood is hard and durable, while the long winter makes it 
exceptionally tenacious. That is to say, even in Norway, though 
the seaward scarp is often forested down to the water's edge, all 
the best forest is towards the south-east, e.g. in the Osterdal part of 
the Glommen valley and the Gudbrandsdal part of the Laagen valley. 
The poorness of the coastal and fiord timber is due partly to the 
unfertile character of the archean rock and partly to the exposure to 
wind ; but even the poorest is suitable for " pulp " industries, for 
which the fiords supply unfailing " power." 

The conditions in Sweden are rather different. Owing to the 
smaller precipitation the timber-line is higher, and the water-supply 
less constant ; but a large proportion of the big rivers, especially the 
Tornea, Lulea, Angerman, and Ljusne, have their main streams 
flowing through areas of very fine timber. Indeed, the Ljusne has 
90 p.c. of its main stream through good' forest, which helps to 
account for the large timber trade of Soderhamn ; and the Angerman 
floats an average of perhaps 4,000,000 logs per annum. 

The best forest is found between 60° and 64° N., i.e. Upsala 
and Umea ; and the special export from the sandy debris of the 
crystalline rock is naturally of pine and fir, the exporting centres 
being naturally to the south of the area, e.g. Gefle and Drammen. 
The total value of the timber exported from the peninsula exceeds 
;;^io,ooo,ooo z. year; but 70 p.c. of this must be credited to 
Sweden, which is nearly half as large again as Norway (17 : 12), and 
has more than twice as much forest and less than half as much 
desert. Sweden also has the best facilities for transport. For the 

XII Scandinavia 115 

south-easterly lie of her numerous river-valleys gives her a double 
flood every year — one from the very early thawing of the snow in 
the valley itself, and the other from the mountains a month or two 
later. Consequently, except in occasional years of unusually 
prolonged spring-warmth, when the two floods become continuous, 
logs can be floated from the farthest corners of the country to the 
Baltic in a single season ; and, though occasionally the rivers lack 
water, there is no large area of forest in any part of Sweden which 
cannot be worked from want of water. In any case, the lakes never 
lack water ; and, though towing and warping involve time and 
expense, these are generally compensated by the facilities the lakes 
give for storing the logs and regulating the head of water. 

The high timber-line in Sweden incidentally involves a large Alp 
area of real alp pasture on the higher levels and a still larger area of Pasture, 
useful agricultural land on the lower levels. Till about 1880 
Sweden produced bread-stuffs in excess of her own needs, but she 
now imports to the value of ^^3, 000, 000 a year, mainly because of 
the competition of the great grain-lands of the New World and 
because of the drain of her farm labour into the town industries. 
This has increased the relative importance of grass-land, but has 
tended towards making even pastoral industries mechanical ; and, 
even where there is a seasonal migration to an alp or upland saeier, 
you may find mechanical-milkers and cream-separators at work, as 
well as all kinds of machinery for transmitting the precious mountain 
hay down to the lowlands where the cattle are stalled in winter. 

Even agriculture reflects the same tendency, e.g. in the sup- Agricul- 
planting of grain by sugar-beet, especially towards the south. Thus, *^"'®- 
in Sweden, 60 p.c. of the total area in Scania is cultivated, while in 
central Svealand the proportion is only 30 p.c, and in the extreme 
north not 3 p.c. Only half the cultivated area is now under grain, — 
mainly oats and rye, except in the extreme north, where only barley 
can ripen ; and even this generalisation disguises the truth. For 
Scania, with only 2I p.c. of the total area, raises 94 p.c. of the total 
grain-crop, barley (33 p.c.) and wheat (30 p.c.) being more 
important there than rye (18 p.c.) and oats (13 p.c). 

The old crystalline rock contains some rich deposits of metal. Minerals, 
especially along the northern side of the Skager Rak- Svealand 
depression ; but it is very unevenly distributed, the grey gneiss of 
the north and east being mainly associated only with such un- 
important minerals as garnets and graphite, and the red gneiss of 
Gotland being devoid of mineral wealth. The special deposits are 
where the crystalline rock is very fine-grained or is associated with 
Umestone, as in the Kopparberg ("Copper Hill") province. There 
between the different types of rock are rich beds, or layers, of 
metal, e.g. the manganese of Dannemora, the zinc of Ammeberg, 
the cobalt of Tunaberg. Still more important are the copper of 

ii6 The Continent of Europe CH. 

Falun, which has been worked since the fourteenth century, the 
silver-lead of Sala, which has been worked since the sixteenth century, 
and the iron of Grangesberg. Similar deposits of iron are found in 
the fine-grained gneiss of Gellivara, as similar deposits of silver-lead 
and copper are found respectively at Kongsberg and Roros. Cf. 
the zinc of Grua. 


Though Norway is quite as large as the British Isles, its popula- 
tion is only 2,400,000 (1910); and the reasons for the discrepancy 
are obvious. In the first place, fully two-thirds of the country is 
barren, and an additional 2 1 p.c. is forested ; and the normal 
occupations are farming and fishing. The densest population is 
found in three places — round the Skager Rak, in the Laagen- 
Glommen basin, and round the Bukken fiord. The two former 
naturally have their focus in the city of Christiania, which contains 
one-tenth of the whole population of the country ; and their popula- 
tion represents all the activities of the country, the industrial element 
being very largely associated with water-power. 

The great utility of the water-power of Norway is based on three 
considerations. The country is wonderfully rich in lakes which, 
owing to the depth and narrowness of the glacier-cut valleys, have 
often very narrow outlets ; a typical outlet of this kind in the sub- 
merged part of the country has made Horten the natural head- 
quarters of the Norwegian Navy. Then, in almost every case these 
lakes combine the advantages of being near enough to the sea for 
the power to be easily delivered at a good harbour, and being 
situated in firm rock on which to build dams, etc., or through 
which to cut tunnels or channels. Lastly, the waterfalls are much 
more valuable than, e.g., the Alpine falls, because of the heavier 
precipitation, the greater accumulation of snow during the longer 
winter season, and the more rapid melting of the snow and ice 
during the longer summer day. 

The population, then, round the Skager Rak is becoming 
distinctively industrial. On the west coast the special development, 
from Drammen to Christiansund, is in the manufacture of paper and 
pulp, though local deposits of iron are also encouraging electric 
smelting, e.g. at Skien — also famous for its great saltpetre works — 
and Arendal ; on the east coast the flour-milling of Moss and the 
condensing of milk at Sarpsborg are more typical. Again, while 
ice is a typical export in the west, e.g. from Porsgrund and Kragero, 
granite " setts " and matches are typical in the east, e.g. from 
Frederikshald and Frederikstad. 

Inland, especially between Christiania and Hamar, the popula- 
tion is mainly engaged in farming ; and butter has become a typical 
export from Trondhjem and Christiansund. It is most character- 

XII Norway 117 

istic that the population in the relatively fertile thoroughfare of the 
Glommen basin should be very fair and very tall Teutonic " Long- 
heads." Indeed, that basin is noted as the home of the purest 
type of Teuton, and the reason is not far to seek. The excessive 
glaciation of the area, which accounts for the poverty of the native 
flora and fauna, led to its being peopled late ; and the hard climate 
and barrenness must always have been adverse to a dense popula- 
tion. On the other hand, the natural " line of least resistance " 
was that of most fertility, so that the Teutonic intruders had little 
difficulty in ousting the natives, and no inducement to go beyond 
the limits of the fertile farm-land. But geographical isolation 
always tends to emphasise types, especially where a sparse popula- 
tion leads to a good deal of " in-breeding " ; so that all the con- 
ditions were favourable to the development of a highly individualised 
people of a very pure Teutonic type. 

The displaced natives seem to have found refuge in what is Stavan- 
now the third centre of population, i.e. on the lowlands round the ^®^" 
broad Bukken fiord ; and to-day we find the population round 
Stavanger and Haugesund distinctly shorter, darker, and broader- 
headed than in the Glommen basin. The coast-line is unusually 
low and sandy for Norway, and so had much less attraction for the 
Hanseats than at Bergen ; but the place has now obvious advantages 
for trade with the countries round the North Sea, and both 
Stavanger and Haugesund are acquiring an important export of 
tinned provisions. This is mainly in " sardines " (sprats), and 
accounts for the large imports of tin-plate and olive-oil, Stavanger 
alone having imported nearly 10,000 tons of tin-plate in 19 10 and 
nearly 1300 tons of olive-oil. Stavanger has also a growing dairy 
industry (mainly butter), for which the peat-bogs between Stavanger 
and Egersund provide a useful fuel. 

Quite generally, the population is distributed in the proportion Wood and 
of -^ on the coast-lands and -^-^ on the lowlands of the Glommen ^^8^- 
basin ; and about 70 p.c. of the total value of Norwegian exports is 
represented, in about equal shares, by " fish " and " wood " products. 
Both fishing and forest industries are favourable to the development 
of fine types of Man ; fishermen and foresters are essentially brave 
and enduring, lovers of freedom and space, individualistic and 
conservative. In each case, too, the conditions of life involve 
essentially that equality of power and of sex which is the only basis 
of true democracy and the only standard of real civilisation. 

The absence of the fishermen from their homes, referred to on Seasonal 
p. 12, is due to the site and the seasonal movement of the FisherieB. 
fisheries. For instance, the cod-fishing has two particular centres, 
off the Lofoten Islands and off Finmark ; and the former is naturally 
the earlier (March to April), Vardo not being reached much before the 
end of May. So, the herring-fishing is most important south of Bergen 


The Continent of Europe 


ments of 



in spring (cf. the Haugesund and Stavanger " sardines "), but north of 
Namsos in autumn; they come inshore in spring to spawn, they 
avoid shore water while the fiords are pouring out volumes of cold 
fresh water, and the subsequent inflow of warm salt water brings 
them inshore again in search of food. 

There are also, of course, the distant fisheries, e.g. the Arctic 
whaling of Tromso and Hammerfest and the Antarctic whaling from 
Aalesund and Tonsberg, while both Laurvik and Haugesund are 
interested in whaling off the African coast ; and, on the other hand, 
the salmon-fishing is quite local, and the mackerel-fishing almost 
so, i.e. confined to the extreme south. Incidentally, the industry 
has a rather adverse influence on the population statistics. It 
accounts for the high mortality amongst men and so for the pre- 
ponderance of women, and for the willingness to emigrate ; and 
these two results practically counteract the very high birth-rate and 
the very low death-rate of the country. Though Aalesund actually 
sends out the largest number of " boats," Bergen is still the great 
centre of the industry ; it has associated trades in barrels, salt, ice, 
etc., and — like Molde and Trondhjem — has a Leper Hospital. 
Only the " down " market remains in the far north — at Hammerfest ; 
but the fish-eating birds which supply the down, are themselves 
largely migratory, those from Finmark moving south into Finland 
and those of Norrland moving down the Glommen valley to the 
Skager Rak. 

The principal timber- exporting towns are naturally on the 
Skager Rak, e.g. Christiania and Drammen, Frederikstad and 
Frederikshald, Porsgrund and Arendal ; but some is exported north- 
wards, mainly via Trondhjem. But the timber itself is now less 
important than the wood-pulp, mechanical and chemical (cellulose), 
and the paper, for printing and packing. The mechanical pulp is 
naturally centred on the best water-supplies, and the cellulose on 
those with easiest access to sulphur pyrites ; but the old centres, 
e.g. Drammen, are finding it more and more difficult to procure the 
wood locally, especially as the small dimensions required for the 
cellulose industry are very adverse to the natural reproduction of 
the forest — so much so that the State has had to undertake whole- 
sale re-affbrestation. At present much the largest export of cellulose 
is from Trondhjem, which also monopolises the export of sulphur 
pyrites from the hinterland between Mendal and Roros, while the 
chief export of pulp is from Namsos, which is still farther from the 
old centre of production on the Christiania fiord. 

Obviously, in a country where precipitation is so heavy and 
so largely in the form of snow, as in all similar forest areas, it is 
natural for the houses to be built of wood and essential for them 
to have high-pitched roofs with overhanging eaves to throw off" snow 
as it accumulates. 

XII Sweden 119 

Obviously, too, in such a country inland communications are Communi- 
very difficult. The lakes certainly are very useful, whether frozen cations, 
or unfrozen ; but the obstacles to railways are so great that roads 
and posting have become of prime importance, the skydsgut or 
"post-boy" being often a woman. Under the circumstances, 
Norway has the least mileage of rail in Europe — though it is 
quite large in proportion to the population — and the railways are 
mainly international, there being no less than four main routes into 
Sweden. In the far north there is the " iron line " from Narvik, 
the most northerly line in the world and built specially to give the 
Swedish iron mines access to open water all the year round. The 
development of Central Sweden has led to the construction of a 
direct route from Trondhjem via the Storlien Pass to the Baltic 
port of Sundsvall ; and of course Christiania has direct connection 
both with Svealand north of Lake Vener and with Gotland south 
of it. 

The ice-free ocean, the inexhaustible water-power, and the Textiles, 
marine climate, will some day combine to make Norway one of the 
great textile -producers of the world ; and the separation from 
Sweden has given an impulse in this direction. But in the mean- 
time the textile industry has scarcely emerged from the domestic 
stage except in relation to shipping, e.g. the making of rope and 


Human activities have a wider scope in Sweden than in Norway Occupa- 
at present, and are much less connected with coastal features, tioM. 
partly because so much of the coast is ice-bound in winter. Both 
the area and the population are 40 p.c. larger than in Norway, 
while there is 220 p.c. more forest and 300 p.c. more farming land. 
Farming and forestry are, therefore, of supreme importance ; and, 
while the birth-rate remains as high as in Norway, the death-rate is 
the lowest in Europe. Mining and textile industries are growing 
in importance, and it is roughly correct to describe Norrland as the 
land of timber and iron, while Svealand and Gotland form the land 
of farming and textiles. 

This union of the two southern divisions of the country is Political 
justified by the general fertility and natural facilities for com- '""oiib. 
munication, which are so obvious that the joint area was always 
difficult to split into separate political areas ; and it was these 
conditions that made it so easy for the Swedes of Svealand and 
the Goths of Gotland to merge in a single people as early as the 
thirteenth century. 

Gotland offered most advantages in early days, as might be Gotland. 
guessed from the ease with which the Danes conquered and con- 
verted the people in the ninth century. It has a long coast, well 


The Continent of Europe 


supplied with little harbours which could accommodate all kinds of 
shipping up to the Age of Nelson. The low latitude and the low 
relief combined with the peninsular form to give an exceptionally 
good climate ; and the young rock which surrounds the old core 
of Svealand, gave a rich soil. So the whole peninsula came to take 
its name from the most favoured portion (Scania) of this favoured 
area. With its pine-clad core of Smaland, its oak-forested lowlands 
in the north, and its beech-forested lowlands in the south, it still 
sums up most of the life of Sweden ; and it includes the most 
important pastoral and arable areas of the country, butter and bacon 
being typical exports. 

Svealand. Svealand was less prosperous in olden days owing to its more 

difficult relief, its slightly inferior climate, and its greater isolation, 
paganism lingering on till the middle of the twelfth century, i.e. 
300 years after it had died out in Gotland j but it was essentially 
stronger, partly because of the virile character of the Dalarne 
Highlanders — who served Gustavas Vasa so well that they left 
practically no one behind them to perpetuate the strain. The 
Dalarne hinterland and the lake-studded foreground, which is of 
such recent formation that Arctic fauna still survive in the lakes, 
now combine all phases of Sweden's modern development — pasture 
and tillage, mining and manufactures, intellectual and administra- 
tive ; Stockholm and Upsala, Falun and Dannemora, are typical 

Economic These old political divisions are now practically obliterated, in 

Divisions, favour of the economic division made above — a land of mining and 
forestry to the north of a line from the mouth of the Dal to that of 
the Klar, and a land of farms and factories to the south of that line. 
At the same time the very fact that the old divisions have been so 
elastic, suggests that the area has a natural unity, which has made 
the people wonderfully homogeneous. This unity was no doubt 
based on the isolation of the area by tundra and mountains, by sea 
and speech, from foreign interference ; and it was encouraged by 
the geographical compactness of the area. In such an area it is 
quite characteristic that land should be owned by both peer and 
peasant, and that the Constitution should show both autocratic 
and democratic features ; for the people have common interests, 
common language, and common creed. About 85 p.c. of all the 
arable land is tilled by persons who own it — which partly accounts 
for the relatively dense rural population (100 per square mile in 
Svealand and 150 in Gotland); and the nobility do not own i p.c. 
of the estates or more than 25 p.c, of the area. 

Forest. More than half the country is forested ; and, as in Norway, 

there are very important industries subordinate to the actual lumber- 
ing. The mass of the forest — i.e. all north of " Lakeland " — is con- 
iferous, with pine and fir as the main stock and birch very common 

XII Sweden 121 

on the higher levels ; and its exploitation is bound up with the 
question of water-power, for nearly all the timber ports, e.g. Umea 
and Hernosand, Soderhamn and Gefle, are also engaged in the manu- 
facture of pulp and other bye-products, the total export of paper 
alone having reached about 150,000 tons in 19 10, while that of 
pulp exceeded 760,000 tons. It is typical that northern ports, in- 
cluding Skelleftea and Sundsvall, should specialise in the pulp and 
cellulose, while southern ports, such as Vestervik and Kalmar, 
specialise in joinery. The largest industry is that in sawn wood 
(deals, battens, etc.), which is mainly confined to the north ; but this 
is bound to become relatively less important, because a timber forest 
requires eighty to ninety years for re-afforestation, whereas a pulp forest 
can be re-afforested in thirty to thirty-five years. At present there 
are only about 200 pulp and paper mills, while there are over 500 
joinery factories and probably 1500 sawing and planing mills. 
Heavy penalties are inflicted for excessive felling and for failure to 

There are two main iron-fields in Sweden, the " Lapland " and Iron, 
the Central or Grangesberg ; and Lulea (Svarton) and Oxelosund 
are the special iron-ports, the former ice-bound for months (six or 
seven) every year and the latter sometimes, as in 1 9 1 o, not frozen at 
all. As the Central field is very conveniently placed for home use, 
while the cost of freight debars the Lapland ore from a similar 
destination, special regulations have been made about the export 
trade. Thus the amount that may be exported from the Granges- 
berg field is to be restricted to 450,000 tons per annum, while that 
from the Lapland field may approximate to 4,500,000 tons, of which, 
however, 3,500,000 must come from the Luossavara-Kiruna mines, 
i.e. those least accessible from Sweden and nearest (100 miles) to 
the Norwegian port of Narvik. Even the 1,000,000 tons a year at 
present allowed to the Gellivara mines, which are about 130 miles 
from the Baltic and therefore relatively accessible for consumption 
in Sweden, are to be reduced to less than 600,000. The Kiruna 
field, fortunately for foreigners, produces unusually rich ore, contain- 
ing often 70 p.c. of iron; but, as it contains i to 2 p.c. of phos- 
phorus, it is less useful where smelters on the basic method are 
relatively few, as e.g. in Britain, than in, e.g., Germany. 

The water-power of the country is being utilised in connection Water- 
with both the iron and the wood industries. The total amount Power. 
available is estimated at roughly 10,000,000 horse-power; but it is 
not available anywhere for more than nine months of the year, and 
not more than 25 p.c. is available anywhere at low water. Of the 
total, however, probably 75 p.c. is in Northern Sweden, i.e. where it 
is of most use, at least to the iron and wood industries. The falls 
are not usually high, averaging less than 50 feet ; but the volume of 
water is generally very great for a considerable part of the year. 

122 The Continent of Europe ch. 

For instance, the Krangede Fall on the Indals is estimated at 
60,000 h.p., and the Harsprang ( "Hare's Leap" — a typical name 
in a country where the hare is the most important animal found in 
all parts of the area) is estimated at 46,000 h.p. Nearly all the 
rivers, too, as we have seen, are dammed by morainic lakes which 
act as water-heads. The famous Porjus Fall on the Lulea occupies 
such a site at the outlet of Lake Lulevattnet, and is being utilised 
for the new electric railway to the Gallivara mines. It is the number 
of such lakes that makes yachting the typical summer sport in 
Sweden ; indeed, lakes cover 10 p.c. of the total area of Sweden. 
They are known as " the eyes of the Earth," and the crystalline rock 
supplies them with such quantities of mica in solution that — like the 
eyes of the people — they are typically blue. Cf. p. 91. 
Indus- It is the presence of the large lakes in the more strictly penin- 

*^*8. sular part of the country that has helped to make the climate there 

more favourable for both agriculture and textile industries ; and the 
facilities for transport are correspondingly great and associated with 
water-power, e.g. on the Motala and the TroUhatta Falls, the latter 
alone already supplying 40,000 h.p. The great industrial centres 
of the country are, therefore, found closely in touch with the river- 
and-canal route (180 miles) via Lake Vener and Lake Vetter 
between Goteborg and Stockholm ; and the most advantageous 
position is one that is at approximately equal distances from iron, 
wood, and navigable water. Norrkoping, at the head of the 35- 
mile Bravik fiord, fulfils these conditions best, and has become the 
chief industrial centre, specialising — like its neighbour, Linkoping — 
in textiles. It is also a hardware centre ; and, like the other centres 
which manufacture steel and machinery, e.g. Dannemora and Eskils- 
tuna, it uses charcoal as fuel, greatly to the improvement of the 
smelted product. Jonkoping, with local supplies of magnetic iron 
and sulphur, and easy access to the pith and potash of the Smaland 
pine forests, is another important centre, with textile, iron, and 
match industries ; but the climate is more favourable to the textiles 
on the west of the Smaland heights, e.g. at Boras. 

Along the windy coasts of the mainland and on the adjacent 
islands wind-power is used as well as water-power, e.g. in the cement 
and beet-sugar industries of Oland and Gotland ; but the most 
typical industry round this southern part of the coast is granite- 
quarrying, e.g. at Stromstadt and Halmstad, Karlskrona and Oscar- 
hamn. The least typical industry here is the coal -mining of 
Helsingborg, which is very conveniently situated with regard to the 
cross-Sound ferries from Malmo and Trelleborg. 
Communi- Malmo and Goteborg are the two great railway termini for 
foreign trade, the latter being served by no less than seven separate 
lines, including an important private line which taps the great col- 
lection of wood-pulp factories to the west of Lake Vener. The 


XII Sweden 1 23 

cheapness of land and of iron and timber, and the' climatic interrup- 
tion of sea-traffic, have given such an impetus to railway-construction 
that Sweden has now the largest mileage in Europe proportionately 
to her population. The relative length of the typical lakes gives 
special importance to terminal points, such as Jonkoping and Orebro; 
and strategic considerations help to keep the State lines generally 
well inland. Thus, the relative deficiency of railway accommodation 
in Eastern Svealand is partly due to the possession of the Aland 
islands by Russia. At present the primary bases of the Russian 
Navy are at Kronstadt (nearly 400 miles) and Libau (over 200), 
and the secondary bases are at Sveaborg and Revel ; but — in spite 
of the Aland Treaty — Russia has made several attempts in recent 
years to garrison the natural harbour of Fogeltjarden, which is within 
100 miles of Stockholm. In olden days this promontory of Sweden 
was strong both by position and in virtue of its Viking strain along 
the coast and its Dalecarlian Highlanders in the hinterland ; but 
both strains have died out — largely by the decimation of war — and 
the primary naval base of Sweden is now at Karlskrona, equally 
distant from Libau and Danzig and with the island of Oland to 
mask all movement of vessels between the primary base and the 
dockyard of Oscarhamn. 

The essential importance of this lies in the fact that Sweden, Sweden 
unlike Norway, is a typically Baltic Power, with Baltic products and "Baltic' 
Baltic needs. For instance, timber is specifically a Baltic product ; 
the demand for it is growing every day ; and Sweden has better 
facilities than Russia for supplying the demand. Again, dairy pro- 
ducts are very closely connected with the Baltic ; and Sweden is rich 
in peat, which makes quite a good fuel for dairy purposes. She can 
easily import cheap machinery and cheap textiles from Germany and 
bread-stuffs from Russia ; but she lacks coal and capital, and her 
population grows slowly. 



guard of 


The Balkan peninsula had obviously special advantages for 
intercourse with the early civilisations of Egypt and Mesopotamia 
(cf. p. 9), and this intercourse followed lines the permanence of 
wiiich is implied in the route of the Baghdad Railway and in the 
proposal to divert the Suez mails from Brindisi to Salonika or Athens. 
The fundamental control in this was the impassable barriers to 
pressure from the south which were imposed by the parallel belts 

of the Mediterranean and the 
Sahara. All movement was natur- 
ally east and west, and converged 
either from Nile or from Euphrates 
on the Balkan peninsula. This area 
consequently became the natural 
gateway of Europe, with one 
thoroughfare joining Asia and 
Europe and another joining the 
Black Sea and the Mediterranean ; 
that is to say, it contained a land- 
route which lay N.W.-S.E., and 
which is now followed by the 
Orient Express, and it controlled 
a sea-route which lay N.E.-S.W., 
and which gives the only easy 
access to Russia by sea in winter. 
The peninsula thus became the 
rear-guard of Europe against the 
hordes of Asia ; and this accounts 
largely both for the extraordinary 
mixture of race and language, of 
creed and political interest, in the peninsula, and for the legitimate 
concern of other Europeans in the great land-and-sea junction of 

In earlier days its sea-surroundings had three great advantages 
— a quiet sea, a highly articulated coast, and an island front. 


I'lie Bosphorus. 

CH. XIII The Balkan Peninsula 125 

Except in the purely continental part of the area, i.e. on the Black 
Sea, the coast is for the most part wonderfully indented, although 
the sea itself is neither very stormy nor subject to high tides ; 
even dangerous promontories, such as that of Malia, made useful 
" beacons " ; and the indentations are generally both small and 
large, thus supplying both a number of good harbours and the 
maximum of encouragement to early navigation. The latter was 
further encouraged by the number of islands, tempting even timid 
sailors from point to point, especially across the southern opening of 
the ^gean and along the western shore of Anatolia ; and this influence 
is still reflected in the distribution of the typical Greek population, 
which is essentially coastal, especially on the parts of the coast that 
have most commerce, e.g. along the north of the Sea of Marmora. 

The character of the coast is due to the fact that the land has Character 
been partly submerged. The symmetry and continuity of the °^ Coast, 
island-lines perpetuate the original feature-lines of the mountain 
ranges ; and it was the pressure of the sunken block of coast that 
excited — on the side away from the young uplift (cf. p. 22) — the 
volcanic activity of Milos and Santorin, and that is still responsible 
for such hot springs as those at the Pass of Thermopylae (" Hot- 
Gates ") and for the occurrence of earthquakes ^ in Greece on one 
day out of every four. 

The Cyclades " bridge " was specially important in early times, Island 
because it extended the east-and-west Corinthian Gulf route to and ^ont. 
from Asia Minor, as the Morava valley now extends the north-and- 
south ^gean route to and from the Suez Canal ; and it made the 
^gean practically a lake. Thus, ancient Delos, like modern Syra, 
gave a fine harbour in a central position on the through route 
between Athens or Corinth, and Miletus or Smyrna. Many of the 
islands, too, are honeycombed with coves and caves — an ideal site 
for refugees, smugglers, and banditti. It was certain, therefore, 
that, if the mainland came under the control of an alien power of 
Steppe-men, the bolder spirits amongst the coastal Ship-men would 
migrate to the islands ; and there, with nothing to lose and all to 
gain, they would develop such a net of piracy as would drive the 
mainlanders off the sea altogether and even shake their hold on the 
coast-land. And it is significant that to-day we find the best type 
of the Greek race on these islands. 

In proportion as the mainlanders retired from the coast, deserted Harbours, 
farms would become nurseries of malaria ; and, on the contrary, 
a fine port in a barren area would be profoundly attractive to the 
islanders. Such a port, if at a critical central site, would become 
exceedingly important ; and such a site was occupied by Athens 
and by Corinth, for both could control the tw^o divisions of ancient 
Greece — continental and peninsular. In modern times, however, 

^ The action of earthquakes has greatly widened the old pass at Thermopylae. 


The Continent of Europe 


Athens c. 



Isthmus of Corinth Ship Canal. 

the great increase in the size of ships has entirely altered the relative 
importance of the old harbours ; and artificial improvement has 
only been justified economically where the position was otherwise 
favourable for commerce, e.g. at Varna and Burgas, Gallipoli and 
Volo, Patras and Mesolonggi. 
And, considering the re- 
latively small area, these 
artificial harbours cannot 
compete with the three great 
ports of Athens, Constanti- 
nople, and Salonika. 

The harbour of Athens, 
between the island of Salamis 
and the Piraeus peninsula, is 
larger, deeper, and safer than 
that of Corinth ; and, though the latter controls what is nominally 
a shorter and safer route to the Suez Canal than that via Brindisi, 
the Corinthian Canal is too narrow and too much troubled with 
currents to attract much commerce, quite apart from the obstacle of 
heavy dues. Indeed, ancient Corinth, with its " tramway " for the 
transport of ships across the isthmus, was really better off than 
modern Corinth ; and it was probably fortunate that lack of labour 
and fear of impiety deterred Periander from carrying out his idea 
of cutting a canal. Athens had, however, the real, if not obvious, 
advantage of having a poorer hinterland ; the relative barrenness 
was due to a deficiency of rain — kept off by the harbourless and 
mountainous bulwark of Euboea — which implied a greater freedom 
from disease, and the lack of land-products forced the people into 
sea commerce. It was mainly this early intercourse with outside 
peoples, with its valuable exchange of ideas as well as of material 
things, that gave the inquisitive and acquisitive Athenians such 
pre-eminence in ancient Greece. 

The site of Constantinople seems to have been never properly 
appreciated until it came under the control of an emperor whose 
mother — Helena of York — came of a fishing race ; but from that 
date (a.d. 330) onward the place itself has been more important 
than the people who have held it, as might be suggested by the 
fact that the crescent moon is the crest of the city, not of its rulers. 
When the people of Rome had ceased to rule the Roman world, 
and the Roman empire was now on its defence, especially from the 
east and north-east, the right capital for an emperor who wished 
to cultivate new relations with the Christian Church, was the safest 
site in that part of the area most exposed to attack. Such a site 
was provided by the peninsula which divides the Golden Horn 
from the Sea of Marmora, and which was itself cut off from the 
mainland by an almost continuous line of lake and swamp. This 


The Balkan Peninsula 


site, with its perennial streams and its seven hills, — on one of which 
the mosque of St. Sophia occupies a position very similar to that 
of St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome — was a natural fortress, difficult 
to approach either by the narrow fortified ^ isthmus of lake and 
swamp, or by the narrow fortified straits of the Bosphorus (20 miles) 
and the Dardanelles (40 miles), and impossible of investment 
except by an enemy equally strong by land and by sea. It was 
thus an ideal site for a people on their defence, and well earned 
its name of Stamboul (" Into the City "). 

Salonika has a worse harbour than the other two, but a richer Salonika, 
hinterland and easier access to that hinterland ; indeed, it controls 


Golden Horn. 

the shortest, if not the safest, route from Central Europe to the 
Suez Canal, The fertility of the district soon attracted outsiders, 
especially the Levantine Jews, so that the city — unlike Athens — 
was developed from the outside, not from within ; and the actual site 
is sheltered by the Chalkis peninsula, defended by the lakes and 
swamps of the Chalkis isthmus, and away from the malarial estuary 
of the Vardar. Commercially, the city is not only in the centre 
of the European coast of the ^gean, but also occupies a position 
somewhat like that of Venice, where an east-and-west land-route 
meets a north-and-south sea-route. 

There are three important lines of approach to the peninsula Approach 
by land — the Morava valley, the steppe, the Skutari peninsula, ^y Land. 
The strictly land frontier (nearly 850 miles) is very much longer 

^ The landward wall in the fifth century was 200 feet thick and 100 feet high. 

128 The Continent of Europe ch. 

than that of Italy or Spain ; and that it is an unsatisfactory one 
may be inferred from the fact that it is generally taken as running 
along the line of the Kulpa-Save-Danube — in other words, a 
"primitive" river-frontier. It is precisely these underlying con- 
ditions that account for the international importance of Belgrade 
and for the delicate relations of Bulgaria and Rumania with their 
common command of the great international waterway of the Lower 
Danube. The narrow gorge of the Morava, running almost due 
north-and-south for over i oo miles, has further vitiated this frontier ; 
in olden days it was a scene of constant political movement north- 
ward, as it is now of constant economic movement southward. 
It was the breadth of the continental frontier that made it relatively 
easy for an essentially continental power such as Macedonia to 
control the whole peninsula, and for essentially continental peoples 
such as the Slavs to confine the coast-loving Greeks to the purely 
peninsular area south of 41° N. So to-day the Servians are the 
least effective of all the Slavs, with their contraband drifting north- 
ward and German as their commercial language. 
Yellow These Slavs penetrated at the north-east corner from across the 

Men. Russian steppe as well as from the north-west by the Morava 

valley ; and the importance of the steppe route, in the distribution 
of people over the peninsula, lay in the fact that it was followed also 
by the Bulgars, i.e. by Yellow men, who conquered the White Slavs. 
The south-east corner gave access to another Yellow type in the 
Turks ; but the latter approached the area over the semi-desert 
steppe' of the Anatolian plateau, not over the rich steppe of the 
loess lowlands. This Turkish inflow accentuated the political and 
ethnic difficulties of the inter-continental position by a religious 
complication, so that the peninsula became a transition zone 
between the Crescent and the Cross, thus giving an opportunity for 
the development of an indigenous Greek Church. In an area 
where there has been such a mixture of race and language and 
economic interest, religion is liable to become a very disturbing and 
dominating element ; and, in this connection, it is significant that 
their Greek Church exercises a directly unifying influence over the 
scattered Greek population. 
Nucleus of The character of the relief has emphasised almost every weak- 
Eelief. ness due to site. The essential nucleus is a Y-shaped archean 
block, pivoting on Belgrade and extending its limbs to the Bosphorus 
and the Negroponte Channel. This tough old block was an 
immovable obstacle to the Alpine folding, and diverted the folds in 
two directions, the one continuing the normal east-and-west lie of the 
system, in the Balkan range, while the other was crushed up against 
the western face of the block in a N.W.-S.E. direction. 
Western '^^^^ western, or Illyrian, zone may be divided into three typical 

Zone. sections — Dalmatian, Albanian, and Ionian — all of which consist 


The Balkan Peninsula 


essentially of parallel ranges of folded limestone (and similar rock). 
In Dalmatia these parallel folds lie N.W.-S.E., in Albania almost 
N.-S., and in Ionian Greece again N.W.-S.E. ; and the change in 
Albania, which is mainly due to a change in the character of the 
rock, has greatly affected the relation of the interior to the 

Dalmatia gives an ideal illustration of the way in which the sea Dalmatia» 
invades a mountainous land when it is submerged with its feature- 
lines parallel to the invading sea. By every subordinate transverse 
valley it invades the main longitudinal valley on the inner side of 
the coast range, forming what are called L or T gulfs ; and where 

^flctOoman Region 


Orographic structure of the Balkan Peninsula. 

the folding has been very regular and intense, this gives peculiar 
facilities for access to and from the sea. Of course, the coast itself 
is generally steep and regular ; but it is protected by the long 
islands that lie parallel to it, and these unsubmerged portions of the 
original coastal range are separated from one another by parallel 
channels that tap the main inner channel at right angles. The 
strategic strength of such a coast is illustrated by the history of 
such cities as Spalato and Ragusa, " the City of Freedom " ; and the 
geographic control is illustrated by the fact that here alone on the 
face of the earth has a Slav population become a typical fishing 

In the Albanian section the coast-line is so flat and inhospitable, Albania. 
and the coast-land is so malarial, that the geographic control has 



The Continent of Europe 


been exactly the opposite of that in Dalmatia. Not only are the 

parallel ranges very numer- 
ous and very close together, 
especially to the west, accen- 
tuating the difficulty of access 
to and from the sea ; but 
the succession of island and 
channel down the Dalmatian 
coast is here repeated as a 
succession of basin and 
saddle. The land is, there- 
fore, pitted with tiny montane 
basins and lonely glens, each 
shut in by a typical Demir 
Kapu (" Iron Gate "), which 
have made it a typical home 
of separate communities with 
varied race and creed and 
economic or political in- 
terest. Progress has been 
almost impossible, especially 
in the least accessible areas, 
some of which even now 
have not been thoroughly 
explored ; and government 
has been peculiarly difficult. 
Matters have been further 
complicated by the " Karst " 
character of the limestone, 
for the long, deep, narrow 
grooves of the cavernous 
limestone are normally either 
flooded or stone-dry, the 
rivers thus being equally use- 
less for navigation and irri- 
gation. Where the surface 
has sagged over a subter- 
ranean cavern, there are 
typical sink-holes or dolinas ; 
where it has actually tumbled 
in, the larger depression, or 
polye, may reveal a section 
of an underground river. 
Many of these underground rivers have no visible outlet, nor are 
any portions of their course itself visible except where it crosses a 
polye. The few rivers which do remain continuously visible, because 



40 60 

Dalmatian coast 

80 100 

XIII The Balkan Peninsula 131 

they run along geological faults, as the Drin and the upper Vistritza 
and the Viosa, choke up their mouths with debris from the softer 

With approach to the centre of maximum depression or total Ionian 
submergence, the channels between the islands and the encroach- Coast, 
ments on the land increase in size ; but the parallel lines can still 
be distinctly traced, not only in the Pindus range, but also, e.g.^ the 
outer line of uplift in the Glossa promontory and the islands of 
Corfu and Leucas, Cephalonia and Zacynthos, and inner lines of 
depression in the valleys of the Arta and Aspropotamus, the 
Ruphia and the Iri. The sandstone promontory of Malia, like the 
crystalline promontory of Matapan, suggests — what is actually the 
case — that the system is continued through Cerigo and Crete to 
Carpathos and Rhodes, and that it has the typical Alpine feature of 
a crystalline axis flanked by sedimentary rock (cf. p. 29). 

The eastern section of the system in Greece, while still young Eastern 
and folded, has come so much under the influence of the old Zone. 
crystalline block that it presents some marked diflerences. In the 
first place, its up-and-down folds often run east and west, not north 
and south as in the Salambria and Hellada valleys, the Othrys and 
Parnassus ranges. Again, its soil is less fertile, even in the plains 
of Thessaly and Boeotia ; and this greatly influenced the fate of the 
Cyclades, which — excepting Naxos — are the barren rocky peaks of 
the once continuous mountain-system that linked the peninsulas of 
Argolis and Attica to the Ionian peninsulas of Asia Minor. And, 
lastly, where this east-and-west lie has been invaded by the north- 
and-south lie of the lUyrian folds a very complicated interlacing has 
taken place, giving rise to a number of small intermont basins, such 
as played such an important part in the history of the early City 
States of Classical Greece. The knot of Pindus dominates the 
transition area, with rivers draining in all directions, — Vistritza and 
Viosa, Arta and Salambria, — thus facilitating access between Thessaly 
and Albania, Epirus and Macedon. The Salambria basin gives 
easy access by rail over the plain of Thessaly by the grain-market 
of Larissa or the old battle-field Phersala (Pharsalos) to the port of 

The V-shaped archean block is a mass of mountain-crowned River- 
plateau which has been carved with deep valleys by the great rivers System, 
of the area. These rivers are naturally found mainly in the area of 
greatest precipitation, i.e. the west ; but the position of the block 
naturally sends most of them into the y^gean. We should expect, 
therefore, to find the most important either along the frontiers of 
the old block and its Alpine folds, as the Drin and Morava, or 
towards the centre of the V, as the Vardar and the Struma. This 
general tilt to the ^gean laid the richer lowlands of the area open 
to Asia ; but the particular features of the highlands cut one valley 

132 The Continent of Europe ch. 

very markedly from another, as Thrace is isolated from Macedonia 
by the Rhodope mass. The complication of a double lie in the 
mountain structure developed a complicated double water-parting 
in the river-system, the pivot of which lies where the great obtuse 
angle of the lUyrian folds converges on the acute angle of the 
Balkans and the Rhodope ; and this happens to be precisely where 
Servian, Bulgarian, and Turkish frontiers meet This reflection of 
geographical features in the political map suggests that the present 
distribution of power might be made satisfactory ; but the com- 
plicated relief, by giving each important natural area its own speech 
and creed and political interest in antagonism to all the others, is 
profoundly adverse. 
Bulgarian There are three knots of great peaks round which the rival 
Knot. interests are mainly focused. The Bulgarian knot of Muss-Alla 
(9600), Rilo, and Vitosha commands the Sofia basin; and it has 
rivers draining in all directions — Struma and Isker, Nishava and 
Maritza — so that it is really the strategic, and may become the 
commercial, centre of the peninsula. The transverse valleys are 
too narrow and too steep for any natural traffic N.E.— S.W. except 
actually at Sofia, and the same place stands on the line of least 
resistance N.W.— S.E. used as the Orient Express route. Sofia, 
therefore, is the objective of the projected Bucharest -Salonika 
railway, as Trajan's Gate was the old landmark between lUyrium 
and the Orient : they command the apex of the Balkan- Rhodope 
"Servian" The Servian knot of Shar Dagh (8850), Shlieb, and the 
Knot. Kopaonik commands the Prizren basin ; and it too has rivers 
draining in all directions — the Ibar and the Vardar, the Drin and 
the " Bulgarian " Morava. But the westward drainage becomes 
involved in the Karst limestone, and only the Kopaonik is within 
the frontier of modern Servia; so that it is a centre of intrigue 
rather than political strength, and its slight commercial importance 
centres on the junction of Uskub. The monasteries of Studenitza 
and Ipek may perhaps be regarded as storm-centres for this area of 
"Old" Servia, which the Turks call Kossovo, the Austrians call 
Novibazar, and the Germans called Amselfeld. It touches Monte- 
negro, Bosnia,^ Servia, Bulgaria, Albania, and what we call 
Macedonia ; it drains to the Adriatic, the Black Sea, and the 
JEgean ; it is mainly peopled by Albanians, Servians, and Bulgarians ; 
and till lately it was owned by the Turks, but administered by 
Balkan The normal east-and-west trend of the Balkans does not 

Range. materially interfere with the typical north-and-south he of the main 
lines of communication, partly because so many rivers flow north- 
wards to separate confluences with the Danube that there are really 
^ For the Austrian part of this area see pp. 365, 366. 

XIII The Balkan Peninsula 133 

more obstacles to movement east and west over the Bulgarian 
plateau than to movement north and south across the range. 
Though typically Alpine, with a crystalline axis flanked by younger 
sedimentary rock, they nowhere reach 8000 feet ; they are richly- 
wooded rounded hills, rocky only towards the base ; and they are 
crossed by at least thirty practicable carriage roads. On the other 
hand, the important passes are all at a considerable height, the 
Shipka being nearly 4500 feet; and west of that the range is high 
enough to hold a good deal of snow up to the middle of summer. 
The two chief passes are at the two ends of the Great Balkans, the 
Shipka and the Upper Isker ; and the former has been greatly over- 
rated, owing to the magnitude of Suleiman's operations in 1876. 
As a matter of fact, it has a fairly easy approach both from the 
south by the Tunja valley, and from the north by the Yantra valley. 

The range makes Bulgaria physically almost an ideal Buffer Balkan 
State between Russia and Turkey, but it does encourage movement ^°"" 
southward rather than northward. The reason for this is that its 
" Russian " foreground is a porous limestone plateau largely covered 
with loess (cf. p. 24), while its "Turkish" foreground is an alluvial 
valley ; and the rivers which descend to the Danube have — in the 
normally dry climate — ploughed such narrow steep-sided valleys in 
the loess that they accentuate the difficulty of movement east and 
west due to their flowing independently of one another to separate 
confluences with the Danube. Most of the important towns in 
Bulgaria are more or less hidden at the bottom of these canons, and 
are placed so as to guard the approaches to the passes — Plevna and 
Shumla, Sofia and Philippopolis, Tirnova and Kazanlik. 

The main water-parting of the peninsula is so high and so near Double 
the Adriatic — within 5 miles in Montenegro — that the westward ^at?r- 
rivers would be useless for navigation, even if they did not flow 
through Karst limestone ; and, as it is, even those which flow north- 
ward or southward before crossing the coast range have not even 
important roads up their valleys. But the secondary water-parting 
between Shar Dagh and Muss-Alla is exceedingly important, not 
only because it throws off rivers northward and southward, but also 
because — though in the heart of the area — it has a minimum 
elevation, between the Morava and the Vardar, of only 1300 feet. 
It is this fact that gives such commercial importance to Uskub. 

The height and position of the main water-parting put the Climate, 
peninsula climatically into relations with the Black Sea rather than 
the Mediterranean ; and the nearness to the vast mass of Asia so 
accentuates this that, except along the Dalmatian coast, it has a 
much more continental climate than Italy. This is shown in many 
ways. For instance, a very large proportion of the area has a 
winter temperature under 32° F. for at least two months, and a 
summer temperature of over 64° F. for at least two months ; and in 


The Continent of Europe 





Soil and 

each case the extreme is accentuated from south to north and from 
west to east, the regular winds from the steppes being very cold in 
winter and very hot in summer. 

Athens gets these winds dry and bracing after crossing the 
mountains of Eubcea, while Constantinople gets them raw and 
noxious off the Black Sea, one result being that olives cannot be 
grown there. The Pelion-Ossa ranges protect the plain of Thessaly, 
as Eubcea protects the plain of Attica ; but such relief effects are 
only local, the climate being generally "regional," and its continental 
tendency being due to distance from the Atlantic, the height of the 
noon-day sun in such a latitude, and the influence of Asia on the 
prevailing winds. 

Again, much the heaviest rainfall occurs in the west and north- 
west, thanks mainly to the low-pressure system over the Adriatic 
in winter (cf. p. 55), and there is a typical autumn and winter 
rainfall round the Ionian and ^gean coasts ; but most of the area 
has a summer rainfall, drawn in off the Black Sea by the low- 
pressure centre which forms over the Lower Danube basin in early 

Two economic features of the climate are specially important. 
The continental exposure to the cold N.E. winds in winter, while 
very favourable to agriculture, involves a heavy snowfall and great 
liability to sudden frost; for instance, in 1902 a sudden frost on 
December 6 froze up 38 steamers — for the whole winter — between 
Braila and Sulina, and over 120 grain-barges between Braila 
and Ruschuk. On the other hand, the marine exposure to the 
south-west involves autumn rains after summer drought ; and this 
brings a scourge of malaria both to the lowland areas and to 
such montane basins as that of Monastir. Quite roughly it may 
be said that the north-west has a Riviera climate, that the east 
has an Asiatic winter, and that the south has an African summer, 
bananas ripening in the open air round the Kalamata Gulf. 

Over the old block and within reach of its influence in eastern 
Greece the soil is relatively poor, while amongst the Alpine folds 
it is naturally rich ; but the dry exposed uplands are everywhere 
barren, while the mountains in the summer-rain area are covered 
with dense forests, largely of oak and beech. Where these forests 
— with their acorns and mast — are near to rich lowlands which can 
produce enormous crops of maize, as in Servia and Walachia, pig- 
rearing is the most typical industry, supplemented in Servia by the 
growing of plums. On the higher and drier Bulgarian plateau the 
typical crop is wheat, and the uncultivated parts of the steppe are 
grazed by sheep and cattle, while Roumelia, i.e. lowland Bulgaria, 
in the lee of the Balkans, cultivates the silk-mulberry on the 
Maritza plain and roses in the Tunja valley, especially at Kazanlik, 
i.e. near the mouth of the Shipka ("Wild Rose") Pass. In the 


The Balkan Peninsula 


The shrinking of Turkey in Europe. 

summer-drought area typically Mediterranean crops are grown, 
opium and tobacco in Turkey and olives and currants in Greece. 

As the inter-continental site has produced great variety of race, 
with more or less corresponding variety of speech and creed, so the 
complicated relief has increased the racial, religious, and linguistic 
difficulties. No other equal area in Europe is so incoherent, so 
full of intrigue, so rich in 
opportunities for the inter- 
ference of outsiders, whether 
well-intentioned or otherwise ; 
and it is not easy to localise 
individual interests. The 
purely Turkish population, 
the descendants partly of the 
Ottoman invaders of the 
fourteenth and fifteenth 
centuries, and partly of more 
recent colonists brought by 
the Government from Asia, 
is large and compact only 
where most "at home," i.e. 
on the north-east of the Bulgarian steppe and in the south-east of 
Thrace ; and, though the latter has the great advantage of proximity 
to Asia Minor, the conditions of life are less congenial, and the 
population is small and diminishing. There are not 2,000,000 
Turks in the whole peninsula. The Slavonised Yellow men of 
Bulgaria, amongst whom the Turkish Yellow men are so numerous, 
and who are found in large numbers in Turkey, especially on the 
.^gean hinterland, are at least twice as numerous as the Turks. 

The Slav population, mainly descended from Carpathian 
immigrants of the seventh century, numbers at least 10,000,000; 
but its influence is relatively small, partly because of its internal 
disunity, and partly because of European fear of the expansion of 
Slav power. The internal divisions are based on the natural gravitation 
of the Adriatic provinces towards Roman creed and Latin civilisa- 
tion, and the natural survival of Greek creed and Byzantine 
civilisation in the mountainous interior and the Euxine-^gean 
provinces. The adherence of Montenegro to the Greek influence 
reflects the position of the peninsular water-parting (cf. p. 133). The 
Albanians, who are descended from the primitive lUyrians, and the 
Greeks are the oldest inhabitants of the area, the 1,500,000 
Albanians being essentially confined to the western interior, while 
the 4,500,000 Greeks are massed on the coast-lands and islands. 

What we insist on caUing Macedonia is quite a typical area, 
though that name is practically unknown on the spot, and though 
the area is really two areas, the highland vilayet of Monastir and 






The Continent of Europe 


and Creed. 

the lowland vilayet of Salonika. It is profoundly typical of this 
dual area that in it there is no Macedonian race, or Macedonian 
speech, or Macedonian creed ; there is not even any single 
dominant race or dominant speech or dominant creed at all in it. 
The population consists of Turks, who rule, Greeks, who trade, and 
Bulgars, who till, in about equal proportions. All these types are 
bilingual or trilingual, and change their speech temporarily with 
their politics. And Greek, Bulgarian, Servian, and Rumanian 
churches seem to be all equally busy making converts and 
building schools as a basis for claiming a share of the land if, and 
when, it is some day divided. The consequent internal dissensions 
have been the main cause of the Turkish rule continuing, and the 
only excuse for foreign interference, with its absurd subdivisions of 
influence. The shepherds and wood-cutters of the highlands have 
nothing in common with the lowland tillers of the soil ; the river- 
valleys that link the two are isolated by malarial " fans " from the 
fertile coast-lands ; and the coast-land, with its linking railway, has 
been " unlinked " by successive spheres of foreign influence — British 
round Drama, French round Seres, Russian round Salonika, Italian 
round Monastir, and Austrian round Uskub. 

This confusion of political and economic, social and religious, 
elements is quite characteristic of the whole peninsula. There are 
a dozen local tongues, of which five have more than local distribu- 
tion — Turkish, Bulgarian, Servian, Rumanian, and Greek ; a Greek 
man may belong to the Bulgarian Church, and speak Turkish. 
Indeed, the latter is so soft and musical that, except for French in 
Rumania and German in Servia, it is more or less the lingua franca 
of the area ; and it is gradually ousting the harsh and consonantal 
Bulgarian tongue from the Bulgarian theatre. There are half a 
dozen creeds, of which the Greek, Bulgarian, Moslem, and Mosaic 
have widespread political importance, and which help to complicate 
the calendar. Thus there are four " years " in Turkey — a Moslem 
civil year, a Moslem religious year, a Greek year, a West European 
year, some counting by lunar months, and others by solar months ; 
Turkish time is kept for natives, and East European time for 
foreigners, trains being run by the latter, though the local time- 
tables are printed in the former! 



Rumania, which is " included " in the peninsula only on political 
grounds, is geographically a tongue of Russia ; and its threefold 
division is entirely political in origin. The Walachian plain, with 
its forested Carpathian background, inherited from the days of 
Trajan an infiltration of South European stock which was alien to all 
the surrounding races, and the influence of which is still seen in the 









3 f^ 


] ? ip tp 10 *p up 

) Hilas. 

The mouths of the Danube. 

use of the French language in the country ; and, as it was protected 
rearwards by the Carpathians and had the riverine swamps of 
the Danube in front, the position was suitable for a Buffer State. 
As the essential purpose of the Treaty of Paris (1856) was to curtail 
the Russian frontier and — above 
all else — to keep it away from the 
Danube, it was natural to add to 
Rumania the whole of the similar 
Moldavian plain, with its forested 
Carpathian background, up to the 
river Pruth ; and even then to 
secure the Danube mouth, in days 
before the nominal independence 
of Bulgaria, Rumania must possess 
not only the best distributaries of 
the Danube, but also the hilly 
steppe of the Dobruja at least as 
far south as Trajan's Wall, /.<;. the 
shortest distance between the non- 
deltaic part of the river and the Black Sea. As a matter of fact, the 
frontier has been carried to the very edge of the Bulgarian plateau. 

Tolerated as an independent Power, therefore only as a weak Inter- 
guardian of the international waterway, Rumania realised that only national 
commercial influence would be allowed to her ; and all her energies 
have been devoted to developing the natural resources of the 
country and to securing the political peace necessary for such 
development. She has, however, considerable political influence, 
not only because of the great volume of her trade, but also because 
of her racial unity. Though some 3,000,000 Rumanians at various 
times took refuge from the Tatars behind the Carpathian wall 
(cf p. 35), and though the great schism in the Russian Church 
drove a number of " dissenters " into neighbouring lands includ- 
ing Rumania, more than 90 p.c of the population is essentially 
Rumanian and belongs to the Orthodox Greek Church. 

The commercial position is exceptionally good. The sea-coast Com- 
includes the best channels of the Danube delta and the old Genoese mercial 
port of Kustenje, which is seldom ice-bound in winter, and which, °8"^o^' 
therefore, since the construction of the Chernavoda bridge across 
the Danube, has given constant access to open water in winter. By 
rail there is of course very easy access across the Pruth 77a both 
Jassy and Galatz, while the Iron Gates of Orsova and the Tomos 
and Roteturm Passes give relatively easy access into Austria-Hungary; 
and the wide belt of riverine swamp, which has such a strategic 
value, especially in flood-time, forced the main line of rail northward 
on to the edge of the loess terrace, where the fertility of the loess 
and the central site make it of maximum utility. 


The Continent of Europe 





The climate is markedly continental, with sudden and treacher- 
ous changes of temperature; it ranges from below zero to 120° F. 
— though the average range is only about 50° F. — with little or no 
spring and, therefore, little or no spring rainfall. This, however, is 
compensated by a very heavy snowfall, which is more valuable on 
the porous loess than a rainfall double the present fall (20 inches) 
would be ; and, as large areas of the loess are rich in humus, the 
supply of moisture is economised to the utmost. The result is a 
remarkable fertility, the crops of wheat and maize being the heaviest 
in Europe, and a considerable variety of products. About one-sixth 
of the country is well forested ; and on the outskirts of the deciduous 
forests various kinds of stone-fruit, especially damsons, are very 
prolific. The steppe, especially between the Sereth and the Pruth, 
is excellent natural pasture; and pigs are very numerous in the 
oak and beech forests. 

The distribution of towns and their railway connections reflect 
strongly the Buffer State origin. In Walachia, Craiova and 
Bucharest stand facing the Bulgarian fortresses at Vidin and 
Ruschuk, but well back from the riverine swamps, while Jassy and 
Galatz face Russia from the high firm banks of the Pruth and the 
Sereth. The great grain port of Braila (with Macin) is now more 
important than Craiova, though the latter is still an important 
junction ; and the junction of Ploesti, in the petroleum district, 
has become more important than Jassy. But all the railways to 
Bucharest — from Craiova, Giurgevo, Pitesti, Ploesti, Kustenje — 
approach the city by a single trunk from the west, i.e. the " safe " 
side ; and all the typical river-side towns stand on the " home " 
bank with regard to Bucharest, i.e. the eastern bank in the west of 
the country and the western bank in the east (cf. Craiova and 
Slatina, Jassy and Galatz). It is equally typical that, except Sulina 
and Galatz, no town is at the mouth of a river, because the lowness 
of the left bank of the Danube and the great volume and rapid 
descent of the affluents from the Carpathian watershed make their 
lower courses too swampy and too much liable to flood to be either 
safe or healthy. For the same reason practically all the river-side 
towns are at the few points where the loess terrace actually touches 
the river. 

In the economic geography of the country several points are of 
special importance. The first is that it is really a non-Balkan area, 
and its financial position is that of an ordinary European Power ; so 
that its stable finance encourages foreign capital for the development 
of the area, which is about equal to England, and has a population 
(7,000,000) that has increased more than 40 p.c. in the last 40 
years. This development runs on three special lines — agricultural, 
pastoral, and mineral. About 40 p.c. of the area is under cereals, 
wheat and maize covering 5,000,000 acres apiece, with a yield in 

XIII Rumania 139 

each case of perhaps 100,000,000 bushels; and the wheat is not 
only peculiarly heavy to the bushel, but also peculiarly rich in 
gluten (cf. p. 207). The pastoral industry has been concerned largely 
with export of live stock ; but the great opening is for dairying (in- 
cluding the raising of bacon), for at least 3,000,000 acres of the 
Danubian swamp could be converted into most valuable polders 
quite free from the typical local danger of drought. The mineral 
industry is concerned mainly with petroleum and salt. The oil- 
zone extends over the whole anticline of the Carpathian foot-hills 
(300 miles X 10); the wells are very easily bored, 400 yards being 
an exceptional depth ; and the quality of the oil is excellent, that at 
Bacau coming to the surface almost pure. The value of the total 
yield 20 years ago was about ;^ioo,ooo; 10 years ago it was 
;^5oo,ooo ; and the average for the last 5 years has been about 
;^2, 000,000. More than half is raised in the Prahova district, 
along the Ploesti-Predeal railway; but each of the neighbouring 
districts, Dambovitza and Buzeu, produces about 40,000 out of the 
total 1,352,000 tons. 

The distribution of population and facilities for transport, of Distribu- 
course, reflect these conditions, Walachia being in both respects *j°^ °^ 
much more important than Moldavia. Walachia is a typical jio^ 
agricultural area, even its towns being really huge villages with 
typically agricultural suburbs ; and the density per square mile is 
only 130 with the towns included as against 102 without them ! 
There are two chief zones of density — the old zone along the 
Carpathian foot-hills, where both the Walachian ^ oil and the 
Moldavian salt are found, and the new zone along the Danube, 
where commerce gives a high density (75) considering the large 
area of swamp. Forestry is an important industry at the back of 
the upland zone, as fishing is on the front of the riverine zone — sea 
and river fisheries being focused under Government control at Tulcea. 
It is partly due to the use of oil-residue for fuel that transport both 
by rail and by steamer is so good in spite of the practical absence of 
coal ; and perhaps nothing could illustrate the important relations 
of the water and rail transport better than the relative size of the 
"great" shipping port of Sulina (7103) and the rail and river 
junction of Turnu Severin (120,348), the latter being the only town 
except Bucharest (292,000) with a population of more than 80,000 

There are several other largish river ports, e.g. Giurgevo, and River 
Galatz and Braila have populations of over 60,000 ; but they are all Porta, 
unimportant compared with swamp-girt Sulina, with its massive jetties 
and artificial channel. In the last fifty years the deltaic channel has 
been shortened, i.e. straightened, by some 25 miles, and now has its 

^ Salt is also found in Walachia, e.^. at Ploesti and Campalung, as oil in 
Moldavia, e.^. at Bacau. 


The Continent of Europe 


depth maintained 50 p.c. lower (20 feet). Inside the great jetties 
there is smooth water when the wildest storms are raging on the 
Black Sea ; along the new channel, though 1 2,000,000 tons of mud 
were estimated to be carried through it in 19 10, it was never less 
than 2 1 feet deep except for four days in August ; the risks and 
delays of river navigation are avoided ; and, above all things, the 
International Authority guarantees absolute equality of treatment to 
all vessels, and provides thirty floating grain-elevators. In the last 
five years, then, about half the total amount of grain shipped by the 
Danube has been trans-shipped (from lighters) at Sulina for export, 
and the percentage has been as high at 57. At this swamp-girt 
depot, with no exports of its own, no local industries, no possible 
local development of agriculture, British interests are paramount, 
460 out of its 1300 vessels in 1910 (representing 1,000,000 out of 
2,275,000 tons) being British. 

The reasons for the choice of the particular branch are very 


Lower Danube. 

significant Though the river falls only some 120 feet in the 600 
miles between Orsova and Sulina, the regime guarantees a more or 
less violent current, as might be inferred from the way in which left- 
bank " tributaries " between Galatz and Sulina have been dammed 
back to form lakes. This suggests, too, that the Kilia branch, which 
carries two-thirds of the total volume, has also the strongest current. 
For that reason it was avoided, as was the main stream of the St. 
George branch ; and the Sulina stream was chosen just because it 
carries only one-twelfth of the volume, with less force and less silt. 
The long jetties seen in the illustration, like similar ones at Newcastle 
(cf. p. 240), not only ensure river-silt being carried well out to sea 
and prevent sea-silt from entering the river, but also — as said above 
— form a safe refuge in the worst weather. 


Frontiers. Bulgaria includes three distinct areas — plateau, plain, and 

mountain basin; and, considering its "Buffer State" origin, its 

XIII Bulgaria 141 

frontiers are remarkably natural. The plateau (r. 200 miles x 60), 
lying parallel with the Danube, has an inhospitable water frontier, 
for the sea-coast is dangerous and stormy, and the right bank of the 
Timok-Danube is a steep scarp, the great fortress of Silistria 
occupying a typical piece of steep-faced crag. East of the Silistrian 
frontier the Dobruja is so nearly desert that one may see camel 
transport ; and south of the Timok the Stara-Planina has its most 
used pass (St. Nicholas) at a height of over 4500 feet. The 
Roumelia plain has somewhat more artificial frontiers, but even here 
there is a large proportion of natural barrier. The Stranja Balkans 
(or Istranja Dagh) in the south-east are very difficult country, and 
the Rhodope Balkans (or Despoto Dagh) are so compact and so 
inaccessible from the south tliat Roumelia can get access to the 
.^gean only via the Maritza valley. Indeed, the old block is so 
much TCiortDagh (real "mountain") than Balkan'^ ("forested alp") 
that it remains a country apart ; the sedimentary flanks of the 
crystalline crest are covered with forests, in which bears and 
numerous packs of wolves are found ; and their human inhabitants 
include such interesting relics as the Pomaks, or Moslem Bulgarians, 
whose log-built huts are typically Mongol in character. 

The precise line of frontier, with its double row of huts and posts, Inter- 
is very involved, partly because of the intricate relief and partly national 
because of the interference of outside Powers in such treaties as 
those of San Stefano and Berlin. But the difficulty and im- 
permanence of the actual line have been compensated by the unity 
and conservatism of the people. The mass of these are Bulgarians, 
i.e. Slavonised Yellow men ; and the Slavonic veneer is specially 
prominent in their political attitude and relations. For instance, it 
was Russia that — with or without an eye to the Bosphorus — won for 
them their freedom, and trained their army ; their language has 
been strongly affected by Russia, and they still use the Russian 
characters in writing. Again, in consequence of a political demand 
for religious independence, the National Church was declared in 1870 
to be outside the Orthodox Communion. And the results of the 
Servo-Bulgarian war, with the subsequent interference of Austria, have 
left the people as hostile to Austria and Servia on purely political 
grounds as they are really to Russia by temperament and inheritance. 

The climate over each of the three great divisions is more Climate, 
severe than in similar latitudes elsewhere in Europe, but varies with 
the relief. On the exposed plateau of Bulgaria proper the extremes, 
both seasonal and diurnal, are great, and the changes of temperature 
are very sudden ; the greatest extremes and the most sudden 
changes are in winter, when - 24° F. may be registered. The 
natural vegetation here is mainly of a steppe character, bulbous and 

^ Balkan means literally " stony hills," but is always associated with wood and 

142 The Continent of Europe ch. 

umbelliferous ; and the summer rains allow large quantities of 
grain to be grown, especially wheat for export and maize for home 
consumption. The average value of the grain crop for the last five 
years has been about ^14,000,000. The sheltered Roumelian 
plain is much warmer than the Bulgarian plateau, and has more or 
less Mediterranean vegetation, roses and tobacco being special crops, 
while even rice is grown round Philippopolis. The mountain-basins 
of Samakov and Sofia in the Isker valley, and Radomir and 
Kustendil in the Struma valley, are more equable than the plateau 
and less equable than the plain, the temperature seldom exceeding 
86° F. or falling below 0° F. ; but the vegetation in the northern 
basins is sub-Alpine, while in the southern, especially the Kustendil 
basin, it is distinctly richer. Extremes decrease along the sea-coast, 
but the Black Sea influence is otherwise '* Euxine " (used euphe- 
mistically for *' Axine," i.e. inhospitable) ; and the violence of the 
winds may be gauged from the relative safety of the two ports. 
Though access to the food-supplies of the plateau made Varna a 
fairly good Franco-British depot in the Crimean War, it is a very 
poor harbour, shallow and dangerous during N.E. storms. Burgas, 
though only a roadstead, is quite safe because sheltered by the 
Emineh Balkans, and is never ice-bound. The fact that Varna 
is occasionally ice-bound, like the average annual temperature 
(52° F.) and like the calm dry autumn, shows that the climate is 
predominantly continental. 
Tho The curious mixture of Slav and Mongol in the Bulgarians 

Bulgars. proper, who are found mainly in the north and the west, is leading 
to a very interesting development of the country. They have 
assimilated many Slav traits and customs, but put virility into all of 
them. Their oval faces, straight noses, and stocky frames are as 
typical as their patience, perseverance, and devotion to the spade. 
They are stolid and democratic individualists, who have learnt to 
stand alone, and whose steppe qualities are as obvious on the moral 
side as on the material, e.g. their sheepskin cloaks, bagpipes, raw- 
hide boots, love of meat and cheese and butter, and the nomad 
habit of wearing all their wealth in a portable form on their persons. 
They are so much the best type in the whole peninsula that they 
will probably outlast all their rivals. Their Slav aptitude for 
combination, and the Mongol tenacity with which they pursue 
national aims, appear specially in their attitude to agriculture and 
transport. Agriculture hitherto has been greatly hampered by the 
insecurity under Turkish rule, the ignorance of the cultivators, want 
of capital, of communication, and even of population — for the 
passage of Turkish armies through the country in the wars with 
Austria, Poland, and Russia led to constant emigration ; but 
co-operation and education are revolutionising the industry, and the 
Government makes great efforts to concentrate all the trade of the 

XIII Bulgaria 143 

country on their own seaports of Varna and Burgas. Only at 
Ruschuk and Somovit do railways tap the Danube, even river-ports, 
such as Lorn Palanka and Nikopoli, and the river-side fortresses 
of Vidin and Silistria being neglected. And it is partly this that 
accounts for the chief textile centres being essentially inside the 
long " horseshoe " of railway that runs from Varna via Shumla and 
Plevna to Sofia and from Sofia via Philippopolis and Eski-Zagra to 
Burgas. For instance, the great woollen centres are Gabrovo and 
Sliven ; and all Government employees must wear the — really 
admirable — native "homespuns." 

The pastoral industry, as in Rumania, is making great progress. Pasture, 
but in the direction of meat rather than dairy products, though a 
large amount of sheeps'-milk cheese is made. The presence of real 
" Balkans," i.e. rounded hills well forested and with large areas of 
pasture, not only protects Bulgaria from severe summer drought, 
but also accounts for the fine grain and flavour of the meat. The 
mutton is equal to the best Welsh type, and the beef to the very 
best that comes from either Chicago or the Plate ; and both labour 
and stock are abundant and cheap, while the facilities for transport 
to Varna and Burgas are so good that produce can be delivered in 
London within ten days. 

The typical industry in Roumelia is rose-growing, though it is Roses, 
mainly confined to the Tunja valley, i.e. the sheltered gully between 
the Balkans and the Karaja Dagh. Here nearly 200 villages, at an 
average height of 1300 feet, are devoted to the work, cultivating 
more than 15,000 acres of roses ; these yield some 25,000,000 lbs. 
of roses, 200 lbs. of roses being equivalent to i oz. of attar. Most 
of the stills are at Karlovo and Kazanlik, at the mouth of the 
Shipka (" Wild Rose ") Pass. 

There are innumerable distilleries and flour-mills in the grain indiis- 
areas, saw-mills on the Rhodope and Balkan torrents, and tanneries tries, 
between the forest and the steppe ; but the country in the meantime 
is essentially non-industrial, one result of this being the entire 
absence of large towns. Only Sofia (83,000) has more than 
50,000 inhabitants; and it has, in addition to its enormous political, 
strategic, and commercial importance, easy access to the only 
coal (lignite) worked in the country — at Pernik. It shares, therefore, 
practically all the little industries of the area — tanning, like Plevna 
and Shumla; manufacturing the local tobacco, like Philippopolis and 
Ruschuk; weaving, like Sliven and Samokov, Gabrovo and Karlovo. 
The climate is much more suited to the working of wool and silk 
than of cotton ; but cotton is spun as well as woven at Varna, and 
— like the silk — can even be produced in the country, e.g. round 
Haskovo. The same area also produces various oil-seeds, e.g. anise 
and sesame, while colza is produced along the Danube, e.g. round 
Ruschuk and Sistova. 


The Continent of Europe 



Site. Servia is not much more than half the size of Bulgaria, and is 

greatly handicapped by want of access to the sea, the only com- 
pensations being that it sits astride the Orient Express route, that a 
considerable proportion (over 400 miles) of its frontier is navigable 
river — Drina, Save, Danube, Timok, — and that its shape has such a 
relation to that of the whole peninsula that it has a certain equality 
of interest in all directions. 

Access. Though so much of the frontier is nominally artificial, it is by 

no means easy of access, the Western Balkans, the Rhodope block, 
the Alpine region of Zlatibor all being rough and formidable. Even 

The Kazan or Klisura Canal, near Orsova. 


the apparently easy line of access by the upper valley of the Morava 
is really a 50-mile gorge, in some places 3000 feet deep and so 
narrow that both road and railway are hewn out of the solid rock. 
This is complicated by the relief, which is largely a chaos of 
mountain ends — Dinaric, Carpathian, Rhodope, Albanian — falling 
into two main blocks, east and west of the Morava gorge, so that 
movement north or south parallel to the gorge is almost impossible. 
These conditions minimise the danger of the through-route in time 
of war without minimising its advantages in time of peace ; but of 
course they are as adverse to commercial development as they are 
favourable to guerilla warfare. 

The precise features of the frontier lines and zones are of some 
interest. Thus, the high land towards the north-west is desolate 
limestone, while the low land beyond — between the Drina and the 
Save — is typical fen (the Machva) ; and the liability to flood which 
is implied in this, and which is largely due to the windings of the 




Save, has a real strategic value as far east as Belgrade. There the 
Danube is a mile and a half wide, and the only bridge is across 
the Save. The Kazan, or "Cauldron," Pass through which the 
Danube cuts above the Iron Gates of Orsova, and the peaceful aims 
of Rumania, are safeguards on the north-east, and even on the 
Bulgarian bank of the Timok the population is strongly Rumanian, 
even in blood and speech. The great difficulty, on the other hand, 
is in the existence of two side-entrances to the main valley, the 
Ibar valley from the west, and the Nishava valley from the east, the 
headwaters of which rise well beyond the Servian frontier. 

The permanence of the geographic control here is remarkable. Geo- 
Pompey considered the key to the peninsula to be the confluence graphic 
of the Ibar with the Servian Morava ; and, of course, the southern 
valley of the Ibar basin is the famous Kossovo Polye (cf. p. 132). 
The medieval tsars of Servia considered the key to be at Krushevatz, 
commanding the confluence of the Servian and Bulgarian Moravas. 
The two great historic lines of invasion — from the south and the 
east, i.e. by the Vardar route and Leskovatz and the Nishava route 
and Pirot — converge on the old routes from Durazzo and Belgrade 
at the railway junction of Nish. And the only satisfactory site for ■ 
a capital was that occupied by the old capital of Kraguyevatz, in 
the heart of the Shumadia (" Forest "), on the flank of the great 
road north of all its various side-entrances and cross-routes, and 
within easy reach of the navigable part of the Morava, i.e. north of 

The worst possible site for a capital is that of Belgrade. A Belgrade. 
spur of the Avala plateau at the confluence of the Save and the 
Danube, commanding the crossing of great N.-S. and E.-W. routes, 
on the frontier of the kingdom, was 
a good site for a Beograd ("White 
Castle ") ; and it is now an excellent 
site for a great rail and river junction, 
as it was a great collecting and dis- 
tributing centre in the palmy days of 
river-trade on the Save and the Drave, 
the Danube and the Theiss, all of 
which pivot on the Morava -Danube 
confluence. But for a capital it has 
only drawbacks, being strategically liable to surprise and politically 
exposed to intrigue. And so, though it is more important as a 
route-centre than any other place in the peninsula, it is also more 
significant than any other as a storm-centre. 

The chaos of forested heights — with their plethora of wild life, Economic 
e.g. bears and boars, wolves and lynxes — is threaded by innumerable ^^^^ 
long, deep, torrent-cut gorges, such as that on the Morava, along 
the floor of which there is often a rich strip of flat land, especially 

Site of Belgrade. 


146 The Continent of Europe ch. 

on the Tertiary formation of the Shumadia ; and the northward 
slope of the country makes the latter also less exposed than the 
southern watershed to the bitter N. and N.E. winds. The lower 
Morava basin, therefore, produces very large crops of maize (for 
home use) and wheat (for export), and vines and plum-trees grow 
luxuriantly with very little care, while the beech and oak forests 
fatten enormous herds of swine. Indeed, it is said that, since the 
days of Prince Milosh, the Pig-driver, the foreign policy of Servia 
has always turned on pigs ; and the Austrian sanitary precautions 
against swine-fever — from imported pigs — seem certainly to vary 
curiously with the political tension. Cf. p. 279. 
Serbs. As the only country in Europe except Switzerland that has no 

sea-coast, Servia must have somewhat delicate and difficult relations 
with its neighbours ; and its command of the great road might have 
made it a great nation. But it has failed to use the opportunity, 
mainly because its population is so essentially Slav. Fully 90 p.c 
are Serbs, typical Slavs, with great gifts for co-operation and 
an utter lack of initiative. They live in villages, not towns ; and 
the villages are largely communal, as the political instinct is 
patriarchal All sons are equal ; there are no rich and no paupers ; 
there is no nobility or even middle class ; and so both natural 
leaders and natural ambitions are absent. It is a nation of self- 
contained, non-progressive tillers of the soil, whose women are 
taught that it is more important to till their parents' land than to 
find a home for themselves. Such a people have no chance against 
such thrifty and industrious rivals as the Bulgarians, or against 
such intellectual and adaptable rivals as the Rumanians, whilst the 
overwhelming influence of Austria makes even contraband gravitate 
north, and imposes German as the commercial language. Historically, 
too, these Serbs are the descendants of the vanquished at the battle 
of Kossovo (a.d. 1389), who were prepared to accept the dominion 
of the Turk when the virile amongst them retreated into the dark 
forests of Montenegro. 
Indus- It is not surprising, then, that they have entirely failed to 

tries. develop their land. For instance, it is rich in minerals, especially 
amongst the old rock of the Pek basin. The Romans worked 
gold and silver, iron and lead ; and the merchant princes of Ragusa 
made fortunes out of the Servian mines. But to-day beyond the 
mining — mainly by foreigners, especially Belgians — of a little lead 
in the north-west (e.^. at Krupem), some iron in the north-east (e.g. 
at Maidan-pek, " Pek-Mines "), and poor coal along the Danube 
(e.g. at Dobra), the mineral wealth is grossly neglected. The same 
is true of other industries. There is home-weaving of the local 
flax and the very abundant supplies of wool — for Servia has more 
sheep for her population than any other country in Europe ; plum- 
brandy is distilled, and prunes are dried ; honey and bees-wax are 

XIII Montenegro 147 

collected ; a little wine is made, and beet-sugar is refined. But 
the object is essentially to provide a minimum of necessaries and 
comforts as a basis for a maximum of idleness and amusement. 
The beloved myths and legends, like the picturesque costumes 
and the characteristic dances, make the typical environment as 
far as possible that of the Great Empire in the days before 1389. 


This little kingdom owes its name to the dark forests that in Inter- 
the fourteenth century covered the heights in which those Serbs national 
found refuge who would not submit to the Turks. Like so many * ^°°^* 
units within this peninsula, and so few elsewhere in Europe, it has 
a considerable section of river frontier, on the Boyana and the 
Tara ; and, like Bulgaria, it has only indifferent roadsteads on its 
coast-line — Antivari and Dulcigno. It owes to Russia this bit of 
coast and its most fertile lowlands, in the Moracha valley north of 
Podgoritsa (" Mountain-Foot "), and adherence to the Greek Church 
increases the influence of Russia; but Austria holds the natural 
harbour of Cattaro, which gives best access to Cetinje, only 10 miles 
inland, and the marriage of Princess Helena to the King of Italy 
did much to weaken the Russian influence. 

The bleak and now disforested mountains rise to a height of Economic 
8000 feet in an area not twice the size of Lancashire, and give the ®®°" 
country a very intricate river-system, characterised by profound ^ ^ '' 
gorges, innumerable caves, and subterranean channels. The latter 
are specially common in the Karst area, which covers nearly all 
the northern half of the country, but, of course, are absent from 
the schist formation of the Brda highland, where the floors of the 
Tara and Lim valleys are fairly fertile. The lowlands along the 
coast and in the Moracha and Zeta valleys are still more fertile, 
and — with a typical Mediterranean climate — specialise in fruit- 
growing. Apart, then, from the sheep and goats of the highlands 
and the fish of Lake Scutari, the country is very poorly sup- 
plied with food -products ; and, as the diflficult communication 
inland is accentuated in winter by the heavy snowfall, hfe is 
very hard. 

In dress and bearing the men are typical mountaineers, pledged People. 
to freedom and descended from warrior ancestors for 500 years 
back. Their national dress includes all their weapons, so that 
they are walking arsenals, and the whole force can be mobilised 
at a few minutes' notice. But, in these days of peace, with no 
possible lines of development, industrial or otherwise, they have 
become little better than picturesque loafers, and their women have 
become mere drudges and pack animals, while the value of imports 
is three or four times that of exports {e.g. sumach and smoked mutton), 

148 The Continent of Europe ch. 

and emigration is inevitable. For this the acquisition of a coast 
has given encouragement ; but the survival of the little State was 
essentially due to its isolated position and its intricate relief. 


Site. Turkey has one great natural advantage over all the other 

Balkan Powers ; it spans the whole peninsula from the Black Sea 
to the Adriatic, and that in such a way that it has 1400 miles of 
coast facing east, south, and west, and including at the most 
critical point one of the finest natural harbours in the world. The 
strength of this position may be gauged by the satisfaction with 
which it has been accepted by those European Powers whose 
foreign policy is adverse to the expansion of Slav influence towards 
the Mediterranean. 

Coast. The physical and political details, however, rather complicate 

the question. The 150 miles of Black Sea coast are inhospitable, 
and as far south as Midia the Istranja Dagh form a difficult 
hinterland to commerce or invasion. The European shore of the 
Sea of Marmora proper is scarcely better, though the Rodosto 
roadstead has fairly good access inland to the Ergene valley ; but 
the coastal population is so largely Greek and Armenian that there 
is a distinctly anti-Turkish bias. The isolation of the Gallipoli 
peninsula and the inhospitable coast of the Saros Gulf, again, 
minimise the importance of the Dardanelles, as somewhat similar 
conditions affect the whole northern coast of the ^gean, though 
Kavala (" Horseshoe ") Bay is sheltered by the island of Thasos, 
and Dede-Agach is a convenient point from which to tap the 
Maritza valley. So the Peli peninsula is some protection to 
Durazzo, as Cape Glossa is to Avlona ; but the coastal torrents 
here bring down enormous quantities of silt into a sea that is already 
very shallow, and incidentally put a premium on malaria. 

Belief. The character of the relief emphasises the essentials of the site 

control, for the lie of the land divides the whole belt into more or 
less parallel ridge and river-valley trending practically from north to 
south — Albanian, Perim, Rhodope, and Istranja crests, Vardar, 
Struma, Mesta, and Tunja-Maritza valleys. Unfortunately, the 
malarial estuaries make the mouths of these rivers almost useless 
except in the more exposed east, where Enos stands actually on the 
mouth of the Maritza and has access to Adrianople by river during 
the winter rains ; but even there the shallowness of the river in 
summer and the healthier site well to windward of the estuary divert 
the mass of the traffic by rail to Dede-Agach, as the Arta valley 
traffic is diverted — by road — to Prevesa. Durazzo was made the 
terminus of the Via Egnatia just because it was rendered impreg- 
nable by its surrounding swamps. 

XIII Turkey 149 

What may roughly be called Thrace is the most prosperous Thrace, 
part of the area. Pivoting on the Rhodope, with its specifically 
Moslem population, it gets some political and commercial stability 
from its nearness to Constantinople, and is cut off from the in- 
fectious unrest of the Vardar basin by the very difficult belt of 
country immediately west of the Mesta. It is essentially agricultural, 
with a very rich soil and a climate very favourable to the mulberry, 
large gardens of which — interspersed with vineyards — cover the 
hilly " peninsula " between the Maritza and the Arda, especially 
round Adrianople, Ortakoi, and Mustapha Pasha, and the hills 
west of the Maritza-Ergene confluence, especially round Soufli and 
Dimotika. On the well-watered lowlands rice and cotton, opium 
and madder (" Turkey-red "), are also grown, but silk is the great 
product east of the Rhodope, as very excellent tobacco is west of 
it, e.g. along the railway route from Gumuljina to Xanthi. 

Where the confluences of the Tunja and the Arda make the Adrian- 
Maritza navigable for small boats in winter and spring, is obviously <*P^®- 
the most important site in the vilayet ; but Adrianople has 
only the shadow of its old importance. In the days when traffic 
between Europe and the Levant and even Egypt went by land 
rather than by sea, it was a real commercial metropolis ; but the 
annexation of Eastern Roumelia by Bulgaria, the consequent 
diversion of traffic via Burgas, the critical position so near the new 
frontier, the growth of other towns in the vilayet such as Soufli 
and Kirk Kilisse (" Forty Churches "), and their consequent wish 
to trade direct with Constantinople and Salonika and even with 
the outside world via Dede-Agach, have all combined to undermine 
the influence and importance of the old capital. It remains a relic 
of the past, thoroughly Oriental in appearance, with its wooden 
houses and crooked lanes, and in its distribution of people in 
separate quarters, Turkish, Greek, and Bulgarian ; but its old 
importance may be gauged from the choice of it as a residence 
alike by Hadrian and by the Turkish sultans during the century 
before the fall of Constantinople. 

What we miscall Macedonia consists of the lowland vilayet of Mace- 
Salonika and the highland vilayet of Monastir ; and the former <ionia« 
includes the difficult land west of the Mesta referred to above. 
The difficulty of it is due less to the Perim heights than to the 
Struma and Mesta torrents. Both are typically torrential, with 
profound gorges and malarial estuaries and flood-plains, and the 
Struma not only expands into lakes which absolutely block normal 
east-and-west traffic. Lake Takhyno being 20 miles long by 5 miles 
wide, but is so torrential along the central part of its 225 miles 
course that there is no continuous road along its banks at all. 
But, again, the soil is very fertile, growing opium and oil-seeds, 
cotton and rice, and tobacco. The tobacco of the hinterland, e.g. 


The Continent of Europe 





Seres and Drama, is as good as that of Xanthi, while that of the 
coast-lands round Kavala Bay is the finest cigarette tobacco in the 
world. The Vardar basin is also very fertile, and specialises in 
silk and tobacco, the " Uskub " tobacco being quite as good as that 
from Seres and Drama. Other important products are cotton and 
opium ; but the latter suffers from the greater exposure to north 
and north-east winds in spring, when there is no snow to protect 
the plants. The cotton is responsible for a group of textile centres 
along the steep face of the Kara Tash, e.g. Karaferia and Vodena ; 
and on the " Kampania " marsh, between which and the Kara Tash 
scarp the Monastir railway runs via the Vistritza valley, there is a 
typical cultivation of red pepper, mainly round Vodena. 

The progress of the area, however, is greatly impeded by its 
political difficulties (cf. p. 136), which are largely due to the 
predominance by character, if not by numbers, of the Bulgarians 
amongst a polyglot and heterogeneous collection of mutually 
antagonistic Greeks and Turks, Serbs and Albanians. These 
difficulties are more or less focused at Uskub (Skoplje), which 
was the Roman capital of Dardania. It still controls the routes 
which guided the Roman choice — between the Shar Dagh and 
Kara Dagh into Kossovo, i.e. the route of the Novibazar railway, 
and round the Shar Dagh via Kalkandale to Durazzo (Dyrrachium) ; 
but now the route east of the Kara Dagh via Vranja and that south 
via Koprulu (" The Bridge ") are more important than the Adriatic 
connection, and of course the roads are of no importance compared 
with the railway. 

The famous Via Egnatia ran up the Skumbi valley and round 
the northern ends of the great lakes — Okhrida, Prespa, and Ostrovo 
— to Thessalonica ; and this ancient thoroughfare seems to have 
proved a line of relative civilisation between northern and southern 
Albania, which centre respectively round the Drin and the Viosa. 
As we have seen, the shallow sea and malarial coast-lands — aided 
by the bora in spring — more or less isolate even the lower part of 
this western coast from Prevesa to Dulcigno ; and the Akrokeraunian 
scarp is quite impassable. But a few river-mouths, especially in the 
lee of islands and peninsulas, are used, e.g. Durazzo and Avlona, 
Hagioi Saranta and Prevesa ; and the hinterland of some of these 
gives access to important routes. For instance, both the Viosa and 
the Arta basins tap Yanina and the Metsovo Pass, as both the Drin 
and the Boyana — which now acts partly as a distributary of the 
Drin via Scutari (Skodra) — give access round Shar Dagh, and as 
both the Skumbi via Elbasan and the Semeni via Berat give access 
to the lake-plateau and Monastir. 

These adverse conditions combine with the Karst limestone and 
the heavy snowfall {Albania, i.e. apparently "Snowy Land") to 
make the interior of Albania very difficult of access ; and this is 

XIII Turkey 151 

reflected in the character of the people, and is emphasised by their 
difficult language — which is older than Classical Greek — and their 
complex social institutions. Indeed, some parts of northern 
Albania, e.g. the foothills of Shlieb, are to this day unexplored. 
Of course, conditions are further complicated by the fact that the 
physical and climatic divide from Shar Dagh to Pindus is neither 
an ethnic nor a political divide, Albania proper overlapping into 
Kossovo and Macedonia. 

West of the physical divide the land may be subdivided into Relief, 
three sections — northern, central, and southern. The northern area 
is profoundly intricate, especially round the Prokletia ("Accursed") 
Mountains, which are often snow-covered till August ; and it is in 
this area that the least-known districts of all Europe are found, even 
round relatively large towns such as Diakova (12,000) and Ipek 
(15,000). The central area is much less difficult and more fertile, 
especially in the Semeni valley, where the Berat district grows very 
good tobacco ; but the southern area again becomes exceedingly 
rough and intricate except round Yanina (22,000), where the lake- 
plain, like the Arta lowland, is fertile. The Yanina lake itself 
drains by subterranean channels into the Adriatic. 

The natural products of the area are surprisingly important. Products, 
considering its backward state politically and economically. Not 
only are there valuable forests of valonia-oak ^ and beech, e.g. round 
the beautiful lake of Skutari (half the size of Middlesex, and very 
rich in " sardines "), but almost the entire " bread " supply of the 
Dalmatian coast and islands comes from Albania I The mineral 
wealth, too, is unquestionably great ; but, as communication nearly 
everywhere is confined to bridle paths, there can be no development 
of either mining or industry. Indeed, even the famous old industry 
in arms, especially yataghans, though it still survives at Skutari and 
Prizren and Diakova, is languishing owing to the import of revolvers ; 
and the possibility of developing the country by railways is very 
doubtful, for the relief is profoundly unfavourable to railway con- 

The people call themselves Shkupetar (probably " Rock- People. 
Dwellers"), and it is certainly their rocky environment that has 
preserved them through the centuries in practical independence. 
For they are the most ancient existing race in Europe, the Ghegs 
of the north being apparently the descendants of the earliest 
" Aryan " immigrants, who may be called Illyrians, while the Tosks 
(or Tuscans) of the south seem to have a similar relation to the 
prehistoric Epirots or Pelasgians. The number of Slavonic place- 
names confirms the historic accounts of Slav, Bulgarian, and 
Walachian intrusion or conquest ; but the Ghegs and Tosks proper 
have maintained themselves in practical purity, as in practical 

^ Valonia takes its name from the old port of Avlona or Valona. 

152 The Continent of Europe ch. 

autonomy, west of a line that may be roughly drawn from Mitrovitsa 
via Pristina, Uskub, Monastir, and Kastoria, to Yanina. Inside 
this line they remain scarcely touched by outside influence except 
along the Via Egnatia, where, too, the population is strongly 
Bulgarian, especially round Lake Okhrida ; and amongst their 
primitive virtues is absolute fidelity. 
.pjjg Even the fierce and lawless Ghegs, steeped in ignorance and 

Ghegs. superstition, are "faithful unto death" ; and, as they are magnificent 
soldiers, they have special value in the eyes of the Turkish rulers, 
and have for ages supplied the sultans' bodyguard. But they are 
Moslems and subjects of Turkey voluntarily, and only because that 
is the easiest way of getting the right to carry arms — for the purpose 
of "vendetta," which is often a matter of race; as a rule, they pay 
no taxes, and are not subject to conscription. So deadly are these 
blood-feuds still that competent observers believe that only 25 p.c. 
of the purely Highland population die natural deaths. 
The T^^ Tosks, though still feudal Highlanders, are not quite so 

Tosks. primitive, for they have come under the influence of the Greeks 
and of the essentially peaceful Walachians of the Zygos-Pindus 
area, once known as "Great Walachia." They are, therefore, less 
pastoral and more agricultural, less exclusive and more talkative, 
just as they wear kilts,^ while the Ghegs wear trews ; and, if only 
they were educated, they would take a place appropriate to their 
essential character. Already their fidelity and versatility make 
them much sought after as dragomans and kavasses. But want of 
education is a terrible drawback, and the existing conditions only 
accentuate racial troubles. 
Beligion. Nearness to Italy via the less inhospitable Adriatic coast has 
linked the non-Moslem portions of the Ghegs to the Roman 
Church ; and, while Turkish is taught in the Moslem schools, 
Italian is taught in the Christian schools, — no instruction being 
allowed in Albanian and no book being allowed to be printed in it. 
The more inhospitable Akrokeraunian coast of the ^'gean has 
thrown the non-Moslem portion of the Tosks to the Greek Church ; 
so that in the occasional times of so-called peace even the Christian 
part of this " race born to arms " has no religious bond, as it has 
no common sentiment or authority or economic life. The Greek 
influence here, however, like the commercial importance of Yanina 
(cf. Adrianople, p. 149), has decreased since the ceding of Arta and 
Thessaly to Greece. 
Turkish The development of such an area by railways presents very grave 

^^®- difficulties, physical and political, economic and historic. On the 
one hand, there is the character of the ruling race as a patriarchal 
race reduced to a sedentary environment. Under patriarchal control 

' These kilts are called "Greek," but the Greeks probably originally copied them 
from the Tosks. 




sons grow up at home, and even as fathers of families remain 
under paternal rule ; they thus learn to obey, but not to rule. This 
may account for their self-control, their dignity, their race-pride, e.g. 
they may strike, but they never squabble ; but it certainly does not 
ease the political difficulty, even if it excuses them for ruling badly. 

On the other hand, the proposed schemes, as represented on the Proposed 


EmeryWalker sc. 

Existing and proposed railways. 

illustration, are all more or less tainted with political motives. 
To any one but a special pleader, it seems impossible to believe 
in the commercial future of railways which, like the proposed 
"Russian" line, would have a bridge of 250 feet every 6000 yards 
and a tunnel of 450 feet every 1800 yards. Further, the Nish- 
Medua line would serve only a " Mediterranean " climate, from 
which typically Mediterranean products are scarcely likely to go to 
Mediterranean markets; and it goes through a curiously marked 


The Continent of Europe 


belt of Slav population, and deviates to the centre of all the old 
military and political turmoil — Prizren. Similarly, the Austrian line 
taps Novibazar and the Ibar valley. The Italian line would revive 
the old Fia Egnatia route ; and, if the Turkish Government would 
allow the Hellenic Railways Company to complete the 70 miles 
necessary to link up their line with the Turkish system, this would 
give the shortest through-route from Central Europe to the Suez 


World Greece gives some exceedingly interesting aspects of Historical 

Eolation. Geography, as accounting for the special development of a particular 
people in a particular place. Its world-relation is best expressed 
climatically, as in latitudes of warm-temperate summer-drought, where 
northern intruders — Pelasgi, Achaeans, Dorians — would first be 
stimulated, and then over-stimulated, by the high percentage of ultra- 
violet rays in the sunlight. With accumulated energy from the steppe, 
and yet less power of or need for work in the more southern latitudes, 
these early intruders would combine energy with leisure, which is 
the geographical basis of all art. But from 400 B.C. to a.d. 600 
these were latitudes of progressive desiccation, during which hunger 
and actinic stimulus gave rise to many epoch-making migrations in 
Europe, e.g. of Goths and Huns and Vandals, and during which in 
Greece the river-system dwindled to a series of intermittent torrents 
and stagnant pools — a mosquito paradise. 
Regional The regional relation of the area is best expressed in politico- 

Relation, economic terms, as within easy reach of the Levant, Egypt, and 
Magna Graecia ; and, as the convergence of so many subordinate 
seas — Adriatic and Ionian, Black and yEgean — on the Mediterranean 
made this a great trade-centre, intercourse, both peaceful and other- 
wise, with land-neighbours was a natural sequel, e.g. in the expedi- 
tions to Egypt (456 B.C.) and Sicily (415 B.C.). And there is 
abundant evidence ^ that from the disastrous Egyptian expeditions 
— on which the amount of sickness amongst the troops was 
characteristically proportionate to the extent of the disaster — the 
Greeks brought malaria into Europe. 
Relief. The physique of the area accentuated the geographic control 

exercised by the focal position on the activities of the inhabitants. 
The symmetry of the feature-lines, which is so marked that it seems 
to have even influenced Greek theories of art, is due to the whole 
group of peninsulas and islands being a partly submerged section of 
a single mountain loop of the main Alpine chain ; and this involves 
a great multiplication of small geographic divisions within the one 
Hellenic unit. It also implies that the inhabitants must be both 
mariners and mountaineers, and that the pressure of population on 
' Admirably collected and criticised in Malaria, by Jones, Ross, and Ellett. 

XIII Greece 155 

such small areas of relatively infertile mountain must soon have 
crushed out the surplus population from their tiny homes. Again, 
as we have already seen (p. 131), the complex interlacing of the 
structural lines in the interior gave rise to lonely montane basins 
which formed isolated political units, so that it is said that " there 
is no Greek History, only the history of separate Greek States." 
All these conditions favour individualism — in commerce and in 
politics, as well as in philosophy and art. 

The mountainous relief is further connected with the peninsular Peninsu- 
forms, which are nearly always unfavourable to unity, because their ^^ FormB. 
mountainous back-bone throws off the human interests in opposite 
directions ; and both parts of the country have a rough mountainous 
centre — the butt of Pindus and the Arcadian highland — which is 
essentially infertile, and which was in early days inaccessible and 
impregnable. The valleys that radiate from these two centres are 
cut off from one another by mountainous spurs on all sides except 
towards the sea, so that communication between valley and valley 
came to be carried on by sea, the great nursery of Democracy. 

Professor Myers has pointed out how these conditions, as found Crete, 
in Crete, influenced the invention of writing. The varied relief, 
with its consequent variety of climate and products — corn and fruit, 
supplemented by alp pasture and bay fishing — made the land 
self-contained ; the great height (Mt. Ida = 8000 feet) in such a 
small area (c. Argyleshire) caused such heavy falls of rain and snow 
that few springs ran dry in summer ; but the supreme difficulty of 
oral communication between valley and valley except by sea led to 
a great development of navigation and — as soon as the island came 
under a single political influence, e.g. that of Cnossus — to the 
development of a system of writing by which communication could 
be carried between different parts of the land. 

This is only one specific illustration of the general process, site and 
Obviously, the smallness of the area and its isolation by mountain Size. 
and sea on the margin of civiHsation favoured early growth ; with 
the spread of civilisation westward, Greece, as a central focus, 
collected ideas as well as merchandise ; but eventually the physical 
limitations must have cramped progress at home — especially when 
the outlook was no longer on to the greatest sea in the known 
world, but on to what was almost a backwater on one of a dozen 
ocean routes, as they must have favoured the distribution of 
civilisation abroad by outflow from the over-populated focus. 

As the summer drought comes on, the winter rain lies about in Climate, 
marsh beloved of the mosquito, and many of the rivers become a 
series of pools, e.g. the Ilissus ; and, as the winter rain comes on, 
the dry loose soil is rushed down into the streams in such quantities 
and with such violence as constantly to dam up the beds and 
divert the whole stream. And all this, once the malaria parasite 


The Continent of Europe 


had been introduced into the country, was terribly favourable to its 
propagation, though previously the even temperature had been 
equally favourable to the " Eurafrican " natives, and though the excess 
of food-supply had caused a quick increase of population at first 
amongst the " Eurasians " who intruded from the north. 

These natives, like all Eurafricans, preserved the long head of 
the arboreal primate ; like all inhabitants of very sunny areas, they 
were dark ; and, like all underfed representatives of over-populated 
areas, they were short. They were, therefore, likely to be easily 
dominated by the vigour, and strength, and unity of the tall, fair 
intruders from the north, whose round heads — as evidenced by the 
statues of Greek gods and heroes — say unmistakably " Steppe." 
But it was precisely on the intruders that the burden of war fell, 
and decimated their numbers, e.g. at Corcyra, Thebes, and Platoea ; 
and the nerve of the survivors was gradually destroyed by the over- 
stimulation of light, as their physique was by malaria ; and the race 
died out. In the fifth century B.C. Athens alone had 35,000 citizens 
capable of bearing heavy armour ; 500 years later, according to 
Plutarch, "all Greece could scarcely furnish 3000!" For malaria 
was fatal to these fair Northerners except in the healthier windy 
islands and on the dry Attic plains, and it was precisely here that 
the clear sky and dry air gave the sunlight most influence on their 
nerve. So the men who fought the Persians and built the Parthenon 
left no one behind them. The modern Greek is usually round- 
headed, but it is thanks to a large infusion of " modern " Slav blood. 

The economic vegetation is varied in character, but limited in 
amount. The bare mountain sides can feed only sheep and goats, 
so that the typical food of the old Eurasians — milk and butter, 
cheese and meat — can never have been abundant, nor is it quite 
appropriate to the climate. And the variety of crops must always 
have been a " Mediterranean " variety, more or less limited to 
plants with long or bulbous roots, e.g. olive and vine, narcissus 
and asphodel, — with aromatic qualities, e.g. lavender and myrtle, — 
or with a power of ripening quickly, e.g. barley and wheat. But in 
days before the great draining schemes, especially in Bceotia (Lake 
Copais) and Thessaly, the area suitable for grain was very small ; 
and, the home land being therefore mainly devoted to wine and oil, 
corn had to be imported. This involved both home manufactures 
to pay for the imported corn, and command of the sea to guarantee 
safe passage of commodities out and in. 

Of course, the summer drought has always been most favourable 
to the olive ; and olive-oil is an admirable food in such a climate — 
with great nourishment in small bulk, easily assimilated, and so 
sustaining that there is no need for heavy or constant meals. But 
the tree grows so slowly, and needs so little care, that it does not 
encourage dense population — to which also the lack of milk is very 

XIII Greece 157 

adverse ; the crop is picked so roughly (cane-beaten) by the more 
ignorant peasants, e.g. in Corfu and Zante, that the fruit-buds for 
the following year are terribly damaged — hence the fable that " the 
climate (!) allows a crop only every second year " ; and such rash 
destruction of the groves as was prompted by the demand for 
currants and raisins in France (for wine-making) at the beginning 
of the phylloxera scare (1877) ^^^ never be made good during the 
lifetime of the destroyers. As ohve-oil is "bread and butter" in 
Greece, this has increased the tendency to emigration, to which 
islanders are always prone, especially when badly governed at home. 

Another result of substituting the vine for the olive has been Currants. 
gross over-production of currants and sultanas, especially currants, 
which come mainly from the west of the Morea, while the sultanas 
come — like the excellent local tobacco — mainly from the more 
continental east. And this over-production is all the more regret- 
table because the currant industry is very precarious, as the berries 
are sun-dried, and the drying period coincides with the beginning 
of the winter rains. The development of grain-growing and cotton- 
growing in the north-east is, therefore, of great importance ; and 
the lack of labour is minimised by th? fact that the level plains of 
Thessaly and Boeotia are not only very fertile, but also admirably 
adapted to the use of machinery. 

Capital for this purpose is scarce, but population — which, like Popola- 
the forest, has always preferred the windward west — is beginning *io^ 
to gravitate towards the grain-lands. In the west the density per 
square mile is about 145 (300 in the Ionian Islands alone), while 
in the east (including Athens and the Piraeus with their approximate 
265,000) it is only 114. In the Morea the port of Patras (38,000) 
is the only considerable town ; there are only four other towns with 
a population over 10,000 — Kalamata, Pyrgos, Tripolitza, and Argos; 
and practically every town of importance except Tripolitza, in the 
centre of the valonia-oak district, is on the "currant" railway, e.g. 
Vostitza and Kyparissia, Corinth and Nauplia. In Thessaly, on 
the contrary, there are at least four quite large towns — Karditza, 
Trikhala, Volo, and Lamia. These vary in population from 
100,000 down to 50,000 ; for, though the actual township of Volo 
is only returned at 25,000, the total local population is 80,000. 
Here, too, largely dependent on local wool, silk, and cotton 
(" Copais "), are the only important textile industries — in Trikhala 
and Lamia. 

The economic minerals in early days were of little importance, Minerals, 
for the most abundant are silver-lead and marble ; and these are 
more or less monopolised by Attica in the Laurium mines and 
Pentelikon quarries. In modern times the emery of Naxos, the 
sulphur and volcanic cement of Santorin, the chrome of Phersala, 
and the magnesite of Euboea have some importance ; and the 


The Continent of Europe 


iron-ores of Attica, Euboea, and Seriphos would be much more 
valuable if there was easy access to fuel. But in early days the 
easy access to copper (the " Cyprian " metal), and the ease with 
which it was melted, encouraged the use of bronze ; and this again 
was adverse to the success of the Eurafrican when he came to blows 
with the iron-using Eurasian. 

Three historic sites have special geographic interest — Athens, 
Navarino, and Lepanto, "the pivots of Greece." Athens, the 
"Edinburgh of the East," is a typical "double-city," with its 
Acropolis, its link of Long Walls, and its Piraeus. The height 
(512 feet) of its rock-castle and the distance from the sea (6 miles) 
combined with the rough surface and poor soil of Attica to ensure 
safety. The advanced eastward site, with its command of the 
neighbouring port, ensured an outlet, and made it easy to conquer 
and then control the islands of the .^gean, e.g. Naxos, as it is easy 









• ^&^§^t^ -^^mK 

A m, 


Athens and Piraeus. 

for them, e.g. Syra, to supply the modem Athenian with spring 
vegetables ; and the barren hinterland made it an imperious 
necessity to command the rich coast-lands of Macedonia and Asia 
Minor through the possession of Thasos and Samos, as it was to 
command the spring shoals of tunny from the Euxine by the 
possession of the "volcanic lighthouse" of Lemnos. Safety and 
sea-power were the beginning and the end of her prosperity. 

Lepanto is the ancient Naupaktos, on the famous "Narrows" 
(i mile) of the Gulf of Corinth. A great naval-station first of 
Athens, then of the Venetians, and then of the Turks, it could watch 
from a safe distance inland the relations between Greece and Magna 
Graecia, i.e. the Strait of Otranto. It was, therefore, a foregone 
conclusion that, in a combined attack by Spain and Venice, the 
Papal States and Austria, on the Turks, the allied fleet must con- 
verge on the most critical point in the line of least resistance against 
the foe, i.e. these "Narrows." 

Navarino is the ancient Sphakteria, of little use as a harbour ' 
because of its poor and difficult hinterland, but a magnificent naval- 

XIII Greece 159 

station because of its protecting island of Sphagia (Sphakteria). 
Two of the allies in the famous battle came from the west, and 
their iirst aim was to cut off the Turko- Egyptian fleet from its base 
of supplies in Northern Africa. It was, therefore, again a foregone 
conclusion that the English, French, and Russian fleets would con- 
verge on Cape Matapan ; and the nearest refuge for the Turko- 
Egyptian fleet was in Navarino Bay. 


Since this chapter was in print, war has broken out ; and the result is evidently 
going to involve changes in political frontiers. If the analysis given above of the 
fundamental conditions of geographic control is correct, the organic resp)onse to the 
inorganic control will be best in the areas nearest to the present territory of Bulgaria, 
in which it has been best during the last looo years. So it will be worst where it 
has been worst, i.e. in and around Servia. Change of political control will not 
materially modify the geographic control for generations, nor is expansion of frontier 
likely to make the Serbs less futile. 

The great desideratum in any change is that areas which have for ages enjoyed 
wide toleration should not be flung back into medieval tyranny — e.g. that the Jews 
and Turks of the Bulgarian Dobruja should not be reduced to the social degradation 
and p)olitical slavery of the Jews and Turks (and Bulgars) of the Rumanian Dobruja. 
It is a much less important question whether — if there is to be an independent 
Albania — such a centre as Diakova (though purely Albanian in population) should 
be allowed to intrude as Albanian territory between great Serb centres such as Ipek 
and Prizren. 



Site. The site of the Iberian peninsula may be described as practically 
both inter-continental and inter-oceanic, and a comparison with the 
Balkan peninsula brings out the relative importance of each 
influence. Like the Balkan peninsula, the Iberian links Europe to 
a neighbouring continent, and turns its back on the central peninsula 
of Italy ; but the Pyrenees minimise the value of the link, and while 
the south-eastward trend of the Balkan lands laid them open to all 
the influences of early civilisation from Egypt and Asia, the south- 
westward trend of Iberia faced a pathless desert or a pathless ocean. 
While the Straits of Gibraltar were for all those centuries, like the 
Pyrenees, practically a terminus, the Hellespont, like the Danube 
valley, was a thoroughfare. 
African The physical barrier of the Pyrenees (cf. p. 26) was so marked 

Trend. and complete that it became naturally a linguistic and cultural, as 
well as a political, frontier ; and this threw Iberia, by the line of 
less resistance round the Nevada and across the Straits of Gibraltar, 
into the lap of Africa. The peninsula has, therefore, always been 
exposed to the inflow of African influence, peaceful or otherwise, 
and even to domination from or through that part of Africa which 
shares in the sub-tropical summer-drought of the Mediterranean 
basin. The whole area may be called intermediate, in flora, fauna, 
and population, between the continent of Europe and the continent 
of Africa ; but there is no transition area, racial or cultural, between 
the country of Spain and the country of France. The name 
Cartagena still speaks of the old domination of Carthage ; it was 
as the opponent of Carthage that Rome entered the peninsula ; and 
it was with Roman Christianity that the Saracens fought. The 
modern Spanish possessions in and round Marocco, which have 
a total area equal to that of Great Britain — though the largest of 
them (Rio de Oro) is only a convict-land — illustrate the same point ; 
indeed, both Ceuta and Melilla stand on the sites of old Roman 
fortresses. And we shall find that, while the Balkan peninsula is 
European in physique and has been Asiatic in influence, the Iberian 
is African in physique as well as in influence. 



C.Tnrt»l \C WC a^^^^ 

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George Ihilip c^ Son. 1'^ 

CH. XIV The Iberian Peninsula i6i 

This fact underlies the failure of Iberian trans-oceanic adventures. Non- 
For the absorbing aim of expelling the Moors concentrated all the OceaniC" 
vitality of the Castilian Christians on a military development, to the 
neglect alike of the industries which had been introduced by the 
Moors, and of the natural advantages of their inter-oceanic position ; 
so that by the time that the final expulsion of the Moors left the 
Castilians free for colonial development over a newly-opened ocean, 
political influence was focused in the parts of the country least 
accessible from the great harbour of Cadiz and least capable of dense 
population, and the nation had lost any " habit of the sea " which 
they had ever possessed. Like the old Romans, therefore, they 
were little better than marines, though they put their whole strength 
into war ; and their over-sea exploits were only a " flash in the pan." 

As in Africa, the proportion of coast to surface is very small, Poor 
which is equally adverse to commerce and to climate ; and both its Coast, 
immediate and its intermediate relations are bad, for an old block 
that has been isolated by the foundering of a neighbouring sea-floor 
has naturally neither an inviting coast-line nor a foreground of islands. 
The Azores, Madeira, and the Canaries are obviously not " Iberian " 
islands at all ; and before the fifteenth century, when the Azores 
became a province of Portugal, they " led nowhere." The Balearic 
islands did lead Aragon to Sardinia and Sicily, and still preserve 
the pure Catalan speech ; but, except for the strategic importance 
of Port Mahon, they have had little or no influence on Spain itself. 

As in Africa, again, the relative shortness of coast-line is Lack of 
accompanied by an absolute lack of good harbours. The long Harbours, 
straight coast in the north, where the old block is buttressed by 
young folded mountains that run parallel to the foundered shore, 
is naturally steep and rocky everywhere ; and, though there are 
naturally numerous small indentations between the spurs of the 
range, the ocean and river currents, as in Africa, silt up possible 
harbours, e.g. at Bilbao, Santander, and Gijon, with appalling 
rapidity, and involve constant dredging. 

Where the feature-lines of this northern coast run out across the Western 
western margin, the sea-filled valleys between the folded ridges ^o^^* 
widen and deepen out into well-sheltered bays or gulfs, the spurs 
from each ridge giving constant protection even from western gales. 
High tides, too, keep these " rias " well scoured of silt ; but the 
absence of glaciation has deprived them of the typical features and 
commercial advantages of fiords, with their broad floors and deep 
inner waters. Of course, in olden days nearly all these rias made 
admirable harbours for the small ships then in use ; and a few 
of them, e.g. Vigo and Pontevedra, Corunna and Ferrol, can 
accommodate even the largest of modern vessels. In those days, 
too, the north coast, along which the eastward current is so trouble- 
some, was relatively unimportant. But the chief trade of the country 


1 62 

The Continent of Europe 




The lower Tagus, showing the 
Mar da Palha. 

to-day does not go through the best natural harbours, which are too 
far from the coal- and iron-fields ; and it is significant that only in 
Galicia is there a typical fishing population — engaged specially in 
the sardine-fishing. 

Along the rest of the west coast there is only one harbour of any 
real value, that of Lisbon. Here, on the western side of the Tagus 

estuary, in the lee of the sierra be- 
hind Torres Vedras, just within the 
" bottle-neck " through which the great 
river has to force its way, is a large 
and very beautiful harbour, safe from 
all gales except those coming from due 
west (cf p. 57) and commanding at 
least three of the world's greatest 
trade-routes. Elsewhere the exposure 
to Atlantic gales, moving sandbanks^ 
on the old submerged lowlands, and 
— possibly — the influence (on the 
compasses of passing ships) of the 
magnetic iron -ore in the archean 
rock, combine to render navigation 
very precarious (cf. the wrecks of the 
Serpent, Roumania, Trinacria, etc.); and, as access inland is almost 
as bad as access to the coast, movement is more or less limited 
to the shipping of port wine at Oporto and the collecting of salt 
in the lagoons of Aveiro and Setubal. 

The south coast may be divided into two parts. From Cape 
St. Vincent — the Sacrum promontorium, or Sagres, of Prince Henry 
the Navigator, where the meseta runs out into the ocean — to Cape 
Trafalgar, as between Cape Roca and St. Vincent, the Atlantic gales 
blow over the low coast of a Tertiary basin ; and the result is a 
typical sand-dune coast broken by lagoons such as that to which 
" Lagos " owes its name, and by river-mouths such as that of the 
Rio Tinto, on which stand the " copper " port of Huelva and 
Columbus's old haven of Palos. These dunes give place round 
the Guadalquivir estuary to almost unbroken marsh (the Marismas), 
profoundly unsuitable for the site of a harbour, though Magellan 
actually started on his great voyage from the old Roman and Arab 
port of San Lucar. Where the terminal ridges of the Sierra Nevada 
are truncated on the verge of the ocean, magnificent harbours such 
as those of Cadiz and Gibraltar are found ; but, as the coast begins 
to run parallel to, instead of across, the young folded ridges, it 
becomes naturally steep and regular. Between two spurs, as at 
Cartagena, a magnificent basin may be found within an island- 

^ It is such shifting sands that spoil the harbour of Figueira, at the mouth of the 


The Iberian Peninsula 


guarded strait ; but difificulty of access inland makes it more 
suitable for a naval station than for a commercial harbour. 

The east coast suffers from the essential inclination of the Eastern 
peninsula towards the Atlantic, and from the climatic control of the C°*8t. 
stormy " Lion Gulf." In the lee of the Nevada before they run 
out into the sea in the lofty Cape de la Nao, Alicante has been 
made a safe harbour, and provided — with difficulty — with railway 
communication inland ; and the easy access inland by the Llobregat 
valley has justified similar development at Barcelona — the Gothic 
capital of Septimania, the Frankish capital of Aquitania, the twelfth- 
century capital of Aragon, and eventually the commercial capital of 
modern Spain. Elsewhere, especially on the low Tertiary coast-lands 
of Valencia, the stormy winds give a typical sand-dune coast, with 
complete or incomplete storm-beaches, as in the so-called Lake of 
Albufera (A/ Baheirah, " the Small Sea ") and the lagoon of Mar 
Menor (" the Smaller Sea "). 

It would seem probable, then, that the Iberian coast has been Coast k. 
generally rather a barrier to access than a base for outlet ; and that Co'^®- 
the combination of minimum of coast with maximum of core has 
discounted the advantageous position between ocean and sea, while 
the small outlook of the sea-face and the inheritance of Mediterranean 
provincialism paralysed the large outlook of the ocean-face and the 
development of world relations. Portugal, at the junction of the 
great east-and-west sea-route with the still greater north-and-south 
ocean-route, became the focus for trade between the camel-men 
of the tropical Orient and the ship -men of the Narrow Seas ; 

and to shut the Tagus 
against the ocean 
carriers, e.g. the Dutch, 
was at once typical 
and suicidal. 

About three- Surface, 
quarters of the sur- 
face is occupied by 
a high, compact, 
abrupt - faced " me- 
seta," the old axial 
core of which runs 
from north to south. 
When the foundering 
of the crustal seg- 
ment gave rise to the 
western basin of the Mediterranean, this meseta was ribbed with 
parallel ridges of sierra, and young folded ranges were thrown up on 
the northern and southern flanks, the Cantabro-Fyrenean and the 
Nevada systems ; and it now lies between the Cantabrian Mountains 


Physical structure of the Iberian Peninsula. 

1 64 

The Continent of Europe 






and its own upturned edge, the Sierra Morena — both with heights 
over 7000 feet — and is divided into two parts by the central ridge 
of sierra, which runs from Cape Roca, via the Estrella, Gata, Credos, 
and Guadarrama mountains, to the peak of Moncayo {Mofis calvus, 
"the Bald Mountain"). The northern part (averaging 2700 feet) 
contains the provinces of Leon and Old Castile, while the slightly 
lower southern part contains Estremadura and New Castile. 

The complementary gorges (cf. p. 2) on the inner sides of 
the young folded ranges, i.e. the Ebro and Guadalquivir-Segura 
valleys, only emphasise the obstacle of the ranges themselves to 
access to the table-land from France or Africa; and thus the 
essential isolation of the interior and its monotonous " table " relief 
had every opportunity of blending its various inhabitants into a 
homogeneous people, in an area too large for premature expansion 
(such as ruined Greece) and too small for them to be incoherent. 
Thus consciousness of unity made them too individualistic for 
foreign intruders to have any chance of survival except by approxima- 
tion to the type appropriate to the environment. How this favoured 
intruders from Arabia, we may presently notice. 

The parallel belts of sierra in the Pyrenees and Nevada allowed 
easy access only round the ends of the range, e.g. via Tolosa and 
Gerona, Seville and Murcia. Military history, therefore, centred in 
A.D. 778, in 1367, in 1813, etc., round the Pass of Roncesvalles, 
which gives the most central access to the meseta ; railway con- 
struction has been almost entirely coastal ; and the connection 
between the two is seen in the famous historic sieges of such 
modern railway-junctions as San Sebastian and Gerona (the scene of 
twenty-five sieges !), Barcelona and Bilbao. Indeed, it was the 
enormous importance of the western end of the Pyrenees that 
enabled Aragon or Navarre, when holding it, to hold also, or at 
least to dominate, the whole northern flank of the range. 

The essential compactness of the interior confirms its isolation, and 
tends again towards a homogeneous population. A " circle " touch- 
ing all the four coasts via Lisbon, Gibraltar, Valencia, and Bilbao 
has a diameter of at least 500 miles ; and the climatic effect of this 
may be illustrated by the fact that Madrid has 120 days in the year 
perfectly cloudless. Of course, the abrupt scarp is partly responsible 
for this ; and its abruptness may be gauged from the fact that the 
main line from Seville to Madrid via the famous Despena-Perros 
(" Dogs' Gate ") Pass rises 2000 feet in 35 miles on the Morena 
scarp. And it is the relatively heavy rain against the scarp that has 
attracted such a large population to the piedmont lowlands. 

The inclination of the table-land down towards the Atlantic had 
very important historic results, because it not only cut off the 
lowlands of the Ebro valley, Valencia, and Andalusia from the 
Castiles, but also made movement along the Mediterranean coast 

XIV The Iberian Peninsula 165 

relatively easy. Germanic hordes, therefore, moved easily down 
that coast, the Goths leaving their name in Catalonia (originally 
Catalonia) and the Vandals in Andalusia (Vandalusia) ; and the 
Moors moved up the same route with equal ease. Indeed, it was 
to this that the old port of Tarraco owed its ruin. For it stood, as 
the modern Tarragona stands, on the mouth of a small river (the 
Francoli) ; and during the years when it was laid waste successively 
by Goths and Vandals and Moors, the port got so much silted up 
that it was subsequently deserted. Incidentally, of course, the few 
routes which did give relatively easy access to the plateau, became 
of very great importance, e.g. the Jalon valley between Zaragoza and 
Guadalajara and the Jucar valley between Valencia and La Mancha. 
Similar conditions account for the importance of the Pancorbo Pass 
— now threaded by the railway between Vitoria and Burgos — in the 
extreme north, and of the Despeha-Perros Pass in the extreme south 
— by which the Moors were eventually driven out of Castile. 

The westward trend had special importance in the west. In the Weatem 
first place it gave rise to such a natural extension of Leon into Lowlands. 
Galicia, e.g. by the Sil valley, that in the great struggle the forested 
hills of Galicia became united to Leon while the unforested western 
lowlands were still under the Moors ; and, as the passes across the 
Cantabrians had previously taken Leon and Castile to the " Asturias " 
coast, there was easy communication by sea between all this forested 
highland — with its typically " European " climate and products — 
producing a unity which persisted even after the Moors had been 
expelled from Portugal. 

For Iberia, though isolated enough to make a homogeneous Political 
people, is — like Scandinavia — large enough for more than one Division. 
kingdom ; and the Portuguese unit is so much cut off from the 
interior by the influence of the old north-and-south axis (cf. p. 163) 
that she is still scarcely affected by her political neighbour, while 
her obvious seaward and southward trend encouraged independence. 
Not one river that is common to the two countries is really navigable 
above the line of rapids which mark — in about longitude 7° W. — 
the old core, i.e, practically the International frontier, though at 
times the Tagus can actually be navigated up to the site of Trajan's 
old bridge at Al-Cantara ("The Bridge "). This is by no means the 
only difficulty. The two most important rivers, the Tagus and 
Guadiana, approach the frontier from the Spanish side through very 
barren steppe — part of it deliberately " wasted " by King Alfonso I. 
to make the natural steppe a still more impassable frontier-belt 
between his kingdom of Asturias and the Saracens. 

Again, in passing through the actual frontier-belt of the old core, Frontier 
all the chief rivers — Minho, Douro, Tagus, and Guadiana — plunge Peoples, 
down off the steppe-plateau through profound gorges, such as 
probably gave its name to the Tagus ("The Gash"). Indeed, the 

1 66 The Continent of Europe ch. 

frontier section of each valley shows an almost incredible difference 
between the people living on the opposite sides, e.g. in the middle 
Douro basin between Zamora and Braganza, along the Tagus west 
of Al-Cantara, along the Guadiana south of Badajoz. All these 
physical conditions, and the historic influence of the very gradual 
reconquest of the country from the Moors, tended towards the 
institution of separate political units, e.g. Aragon and Portugal, of 
which Portugal had the best natural chance of continued separate 
Iberia v. Comparison with Scandinavia is inevitably suggested ; for both 
Scandi- ^j.g peninsulas between inland sea and ocean, with a relief and area 
which justify the existence of two political units with marked unity 
of human type. But Spain, of course, shared the access to the 
Atlantic in the early days of ocean development ; and the Medi- 
terranean ranks now as an oceanic route. It was the Mediterranean, 
again, that gave Spain, as the Baltic gave Sweden, the momentum 
of an earlier start (cf. Venice and Rome) ; and yet it was the 
Mediterranean which gave Lisbon advantage over Corunna as the 
natural meeting-place of Hansa and Orient trade, while the Atlantic 
gave Lisbon the advantage over Cadiz in distance from the African 
base and nearness to the Crusading nations. What this last 
advantage involved, may be summed up in the statement that 
Prince Henry the Navigator was the grandson of John of Gaunt, 
when the Duke of Lancaster, as Hereford, controlled the Bristol 
Historic Both Spain and Portugal had special advantages in those early 
Advant- days. As we have seen, they are both within latitudes from which 
^ ■ Trade winds blow in summer, and to which Anti-Trades blow in 
winter ; and both had their densest population on the fertile lands 
below the scarp of the meseta, i.e. practically on the coast-lands. But 
America brought both within grasp of sudden and excessive wealth 
— always dangerous, but especially when won, as in their case, with 
little or no effort ; and this wealth was largely in precious metals. 
On the one hand, the old Moorish industries were despised and 
dropped ; on the other, the precious metals were so much over- 
rated that their export was prohibited, which was a death-blow to 
any industrial progress. 
Portu- Portugal, with the smaller area, the fewer people, the poorer 

guese. resources, could make less of her opportunity ; and so she over- 
strained herself, and overdrained herself of population. She thus 
lost the best and most vigorous of her young men, and then tried to 
make up the deficiency by recruiting males from the type of popula- 
tion at once most suitable for her great home industry of agriculture 
and most easily procured, the African negroes. The result is seen 
in the physical ugliness of her people, in their moral slimness, and 
in the intellectual laziness that is so typical of gross mongrels — i.e. 

XIV The Iberian Peninsula 167 

the children of parents representing quite different stages of civilisa- 
tion — especially in the presence of a Negro strain. 

The political relation of the meseta to the surrounding lowlands Water- 
is, however, not confined to the division of the whole into two Parting, 
kingdoms ; and the fact that the political frontier on the coast-land 
runs along the Minho and the Guadiana suggests that the relation 
is primitive and fundamental. The main water-parting runs roughly 
from the source of the Ebro — below the famous Reinosa Pass, 
which now carries the railway from Valladolid to Santander — via the 
source of the Tagus to the source of the Guadalquivir — on the La 
Mancha saddle between the Nevada and New Castile — and then 
along the Alpujarras {Al Busherat, "The Grass-Place") and the 
Nevada crest to Gibraltar; it thus marks roughly a natural frontier 
between the Castilian plateau and the lowlands of Aragon and 
Valencia, between Murcia and Andalusia, as for a long time parts 
of it marked a political frontier between Christian and Saracen. 

The central watershed runs from Cape Roca via the Gredos Water- 
and Guadarrama to Moncayo ; it is a very typical granite sierra or shed, 
saw-toothed ridge, with an average height of well over 5000 feet ; 
and not only do the saw-toothed notches in the separate ridge- 
sections make very poor passes, but the hilly parameras, or plateau- 
basins, between the sections are often dotted with heights even 
greater than those of the ridges. Thus, the Almanzor, in the "gap " 
between the Gredos and the Guadarrama, reaches nearly 9000 feet 
No railway crosses either the Gata or the Gredos, though the inter- 
vening gap does carry the line from Plasencia to Salamanca ; and 
the lines from Madrid to Avila and Segovia involved an immense 
amount of tunnelling. The whole plateau of Old Castile was, 
therefore, focused at Valladolid, and found its easiest outlets north- 
wards across the Reinosa Pass and the equally famous Pajares Pass 
— which now carries the Oviedo-Gijon railway — and eastwards down 
the Ebro valley. Even here the central watershed is practically 
continued in the Pyrenean spur which faces Moncayo across the 
Ebro gorge, cutting off Navarre and the upper basin of the Aragon 
river from Aragon and the upper basin of the Segre river. 

These two rivers, the Aragon and the Segre, illustrate both the Sierra 
essential tilt of the whole peninsula towards the west and the Control 
exaggerated isolation of each valley by the parallel ridges of sierra 
on each side. Indeed, the Catalan wall of Aragon contains in the 
name of its chief height, Monserrat {Mons serratus, " the Saw-toothed 
Mountain "), lasting evidence of the impression made, on intruders 
from Alpine Italy, by the typical notched crest of these Iberian 
ridges. Again, the central sierra, being the highest, has the deepest 
complementary depression flanking it ; and, therefore, it offered the 
most suitable site for a capital, not only by reason of its central 
position, but also by reason of the relatively easy access along the 

1 68 

The Continent of Europe 


Use of 


Tagus-Jalon depression — now followed by the main line from Lisbon 
to Barcelona. 
Historic The best site actually chosen was that of Aranjuez (the Roman 

Capitals. Ara-Jovis, " Altar of Jupiter "), where the Tagus plunges down to the 
1200-foot contour, in the very heart of the country. The site of 
Toledo, also a Roman centre (Toletum), is equally central (25 miles 
from Aranjuez), and its river-girt crag is stronger strategically. 
Madrid has only the advantages of being nearer Old Castile, and of 
avoiding the steep climb up (from Toledo) out of the Tagus valley. 
The morbid egotism of Philip II, found in the gloomy valleys of the 
Guadarrama a disused graveyard for the site of his Escorial {Scoriae, 
" Rubbish-heap"). 

The value of this river- system for navigation is practically 
negligible, except for the Tagus and the Guadalquivir, though the 
other chief rivers can actually be navigated, e.g. the Guadiana up to 
Mertola (42 miles) ; but their value for irrigation is almost incalcul- 
able. In Murcia and Valencia unirrigated land has a value never 
more than one-twelfth of that of irrigated land in the same neigh- 
bourhood; and it is said that the whole cost of the Imperial Canal 
(Tudela to Zaragoza) was defrayed by the increased harvest of a 
single year. 

The Guadalquivir owes its special importance and so its name 
( Wadi al Kebir, " The Great River ") mainly to the great contrasts 
of relief in its basin, which includes the Veleta ("Watch-Tower") 
glacier at a height of over 9300 feet in latitude 37° N. From this 
section of the Nevada it is fed, by the Genii and Guadiana-menor, 
with unfailing supplies of melted snow and ice in summer ; in winter 
all its upper basin is rain-fed by the S.W, winds ; and it drops on to 
the Andalusian lowland more than 200 miles from the sea. It was, 
therefore, the "Great River" commercially, though 200 miles 
shorter than the Tagus (565 miles) and with a basin 17,000 square 
miles less than that of the Ebro (38,600), It is, however, not 
continuously navigable from Andujar; for a spur of the Sierra 
Morena is responsible for the Montoro rapids, and the bed of the 
river has been so much choked with silt that boats cannot be 
regularly used above Cordova, Indeed, only extensive dredging 
enables large ships to reach Seville, at the limit of tide, 70 miles 
up river. On the other hand, the volume is more or less constant, 
though floods occasionally raise it as much as 8 feet; and it is 
concurrence of flood — due to and accompanied by strong S,W. 
gales — with high tides that causes the wide submersion of the 
estuarine lowlands, the Marismas. These, though providing fine 
cattle-pasture, are very unhealthy, an additional deterrent to the 
rise of any important town on the mouth of the river. 

The climate, like the racial traits and the normal occupations, 
may be roughly classified as Cis-Cantabrian and Trans-Cantabrian ; 



The Iberian Peninsula 


and the difference is illustrated by the two ends of the Pyrenees 
(cf. p. 27). The Atlantic end has an evenly distributed rainfall, 
giving a typically marine succession of cool summer and mild 
winter, with European products, and so the Galician, Asturian, and 
Basque occupations are fishing and forestry, mining and cattle- 
rearing, while the Mediterranean end has only winter rain and 
" African " products, e.g. cork and esparto. South of the Canta- 
brians, then, the climate is extremely continental, with great range 
and quick changes of temperature, as the daily or seasonal low- 
pressure centre succeeds the high-pressure. Unfortunately, when 
the low-pressure centre over the heated plateau in summer is active, 
it has a serious rival in the still stronger centre over the Sahara, 
so that there is a minimum of inflow ; and, when the high-pressure 
centre over the chilled plateau in winter has once settled down, it is 
such an effective obstacle that then, too, there is a minimum of inflow. 

Obviously, then, there must be great deficiency of rain except Drought, 
round the edges of the plateau ; and even on these, except to the 
north-west, there is no excess. Of course, as the mass of the 
precipitation falls in winter, the snow- 
fall is relatively heavy ; but not enough 
falls to guarantee any water-supply for 
more than half the year, and the rivers 
usually dwindle away to mere " wadis " 
in summer. These conditions imply 
great extremes of temperature, especi- 
ally of heat : and it is the activity of 
the dry air in the hot season that is 
responsible for the vast areas on the 
table-land and even in the Ebro basin 
that are absolutely treeless, there being 
no means of replacing any moisture 

transpired by leaves and carried away by the wind — a condition 
fatal to tree-growth. There is also an enormous amount of dust, 
which accounts for the prevalence of haze (caligo) in the dry season 
and of mist in the wet season. It also increases the radiation, 
especially off the reddish soil of the Ebro and Granada steppes. 
The total result is that Iberia, like Australia, with one of the most 
insular positions, has one of the most continental climates ; skating 
is quite common in Madrid in both December and January, while 
the Solano may give the city a summer temperature of 100° F. in 
the shade ; and temperature diminishes regularly with distance from 
the sea in winter and from the interior in summer. 

From the detailed examination of the climatic phenomena it Climatic 
has been suggested that the whole area might be roughly divided ^®J*°;. 
into four belts, of which the Atlantic belt stands apart. Indeed, 
in some parts of it the rainfall is excessive, reaching normally 

F* IM fi>. Mm »i >br. Jgii. Jai. Inc. Sip. Oci. Iov Die \u\ 

























> s 













CoiMBRA Madrid 

Mean monthly temperature and 
rainfall of Coimbra and Madrid. 

lyo The Continent of Europe ch. 

about 4 feet at Bilbao and 6 J feet at Santiago, perched up on an 
exposed shoulder of the Galician highland. Both places have an 
average January temperature not below 45° F. and an average July 
temperature not above 70° F. This Atlantic belt extends down 
through Portugal into the north of the province of Estremadura. 
Oporto and Coimbra both have an average annual temperature 
just under 60° F., with a range of 20° F. at Oporto between 
January and July and one of 21° F. at Coimbra. There are thick 
fogs on the lowlands and along the coast, and extraordinary varia- 
tions in rainfall. Most rain falls in winter, when 16 feet has been 
recorded ; Oporto has nearly double the rainfall of Coimbra (34 
inches) ; and the Estrella and the Traz-os-Montes heights are 
covered with snow for several months in winter. 
Meaeta This Atlantic belt impinges on to the " Meseta " belt, the 

Belt. transition being very obvious even inside the Portuguese frontier ; 

and the " Meseta " belt includes the greater part of the Ebro basin. 
This is the belt of greatest extremes and most sudden changes of 
temperature, changes of even 50° F. within a few hours not being 
uncommon. At Leon the mean temperature varies from 37° F. 
in January to 73° F. in July, and at Madrid, from 39° F. to 76° F., 
the former having 19 inches of rain and the latter having 15, of 
which only half an inch falls in July. From the greater part of 
the area trees are entirely absent ; and the vegetation otherwise, 
though of Mediterranean type, is peculiarly specialised, many of 
the species not being found elsewhere. The north-western part 
of this belt, especially round Palencia and in other parts of the 
Pisuerga basin, is the great wheat-growing area of the peninsula; 
and still nearer to the Atlantic belt, e.g. in the Minho basin, rye is 
grown. The south-eastern part is the great esparto-growing area; 
and the intermediate area is typical steppe, largely saltish and 
producing the stimulating aromatic herbage which developed the 
famous cattle of the Guadarrama and the merino sheep of the 
Toledo highlands — the sheep migrating in April to the higher and 
in September to the lower lands, i.e. towards the north-east in 
summer and the south-west in winter. 
Roman It is significant that the Romans conquered the country via 

Conquest, ^j^g yi\^Q and tame Douro basin, not via the narrow and savage 
Tagus basin ; and their route can still be traced by such names as 
Zaragoza (" Caesar Augusta "), Pamplona (" Pompeiopolis "), Leon 
(the depot of the faithful Vllth Legion), and Badajoz ("Pax 
Augusta "). This took them, between the wheat - fields of the 
plateau and the cattle-pastures of the coast-lands, to Estremadura 
{Extrema Dueri, " The Farthest Points beyond the Douro ") ; and 
their Emeriti, or discharged veterans, then found a peaceful home 
in Merida. 

The natural hinterland of the eastern coast north of Cape Palos 

XIV The Iberian Peninsula 171 

forms a " Mediterranean belt," with relatively small range of Mediter- 
temperature and a high average, the annual mean being 6i° F, at ranean 
Barcelona and 64*^ F. at Alicante ; and there is a typical winter 
rainfall of 23 inches at Barcelona, dwindling to 14 in the south. 
It was this specifically Mediterranean climate that made the crescent 
of lowland between Lerida and Zaragoza such a suitable base for 
the Romans in their conquest of the peninsula, and it is this area 
that contains the famous huertas {hortus, " a garden "), Practically 
all the native plants here, whatever their Botanical family, have the 
fleshy and leathery foliage of summer-drought environment; and 
the typical cultivated plants are fruits — nuts and olives, mainly to 
the north, oranges and lemons, mainly to the south, and vine and 
mulberry, mainly in the centre. Everywhere the basis of prosperity 
is irrigation, though vine and olive are largely " dry " crops ; and 
much of the water, as it gushes from the base of the limestone 
scarp, is led over artificial terraces on its way down to the floor 
of the valley. And, as the increase of population demands increased 
food, e.g. garlic and onions,^ chick-peas and lentils, artesian wells 
are being dug to supplement the natural supply. This is true of 
nearly all the Trans-Cantabrian area, so that now 80 p.c. of the 
whole is registered as productive, and over 10 p.c. is under 

The rest of the country forms an African belt, with a curious African 
intermixture of luxuriance and desert. In Portugal south of the ^®^*'- 
Tagus the mean annual humidity in many places is as low as 
30 and in others as high as 80 ; and the great heat of summer and 
the winter floods make the climate very trying. In the exposed 
parts, e.g. at Cintra, tree-ferns are as typical as cacti are in the 
sheltered parts. But rice is a typical product even on the Valencia 
coast, and dates actually ripen at Elche, while the Sierra Morena 
(" Sombre ") is said to take its name from the forests of olives along 
its southern face, especially near Cordova. It would seem, there- 
fore, that the more typically " African " climate is only found within 
the area exposed to the leveche (cf. p. 59). That is to say, fertility 
on the Murcian and Almerian lowlands is in oases, while in Malaga 
and Granada it is typically tropical. It is in the southern belt that 
cane-sugar is a typical product. 

As with most irrigation areas, the conspicuous feature in the Variety of 
economic geography is the variety of products ; and of those which Products, 
enter into commerce, the most typical are the olive-oil of Andalusia 
(Seville and Cordova) and Catalonia (Lerida and Tortosa), the 
oranges of Seville and Denia, the raisins of Valencia and Denia, 
the almonds of Alicante and Denia, the cork of Catalonia and 
Alemtejo (" Beyond the Tagus "), the wine of Oporto and Jerez. 
Most English imports of oil come from Spain, but the sub-tropical 
^ Onions are exported to the value of over ;^53o,ooo per annum. 

172 The Continent of Europe ch. 

climate yields an inferior oil (cf. p. 95) ; the other fruits are 
excellent, and the cork is the best in the world for champagne 
^^ne. Most wine is grown in the Ebro basin, and much is exported to 

France 3 but it is inferior to that of the Douro and the Guadalete 
basins. In the south the rains of the late winter and early spring 
are followed by a very dry summer and autumn which, in the 
marine exposure of Jerez, produce a wine peculiarly rich in organic 
ethers, the best sherry almost rivalling cognac in this respect. The 
port vines are grown specially on the northern slope — which is the 
broader as well as the sunnier — of the deep Douro valley, in the 
lee of the Sierra de Marao (4665 feet); and here they get the 
"roasting" in summer which develops their "resinous" qualities 
(cf. p. 208). The high-pressure centre off the Portuguese coast in 
summer, however, usually results in August rains, and these just 
save the Oporto wines from the natural results of " roasting " as seen 
in those of Tarragona from similar latitudes on the east coast. In 
this relatively advanced area, too, where a number of British firms 
— including the Cockburns, Crofts, and Grahams — actually own 
" quintas," every legal protection is enforced against deterioration of 
product, e.g. protection against planting vines on low (under 165 
feet) alluvial soils, which produce large quantities of wine, but poor 
quality. The real " port " area, therefore, now lies practically 
between the Tua-Douro confluence and the western frontier of 
Traz-os-Montes and between the latitudes of Villa Real and Lamego. 
Popula- The uniformity of relief and climate, which thus becomes 

tion. apparent in the vegetation, is reflected also in the population, and 
has evidently been emphasised by the isolation and compactness of 
the area. The pre-Roman " irreconcilables " retreated up the Ebro 
valley into and across the Cantabrians ; and after the Roman empire 
was broken up, the movement of Barbari down the east of the 
peninsula from the north, and subsequently of Arabs up the east 
from the south, tended to concentrate refugees towards the same 
north-western corner, with its Atlantic climate. Here, then, the 
Mediterranean natives were isolated, in an "Atlantic highland," 
where less precarious food-supply developed stature, and where 
other conditions — possibly, the mountain environment — broadened 
the head. Here, at any rate, they became typical Highlanders 
(using the bagpipe) ; and those nearest the ocean margin developed 
into a typical fishing race, holding their women in honour and 
supplying nurses to all the richest families in Spain, 
"Cas- The safest part of this rugged highland was the central section 

tilian" between the sea and the watershed, west of the great Pehas de 
Europa (8700 feet), and here the Kingdom of Asturias remained 
independent even after retreat from its old capital of Astorga. The 
new capital of Oviedo commands the one great route, via the Pajares 

XIV The Iberian Peninsula 173 

Pass, from Leon to the port of Gijon. The Kingdom of Leon 
occupied the continental face of the same highland, and had less 
chance of expansion than its eastern neighbour, Castile. The 
latter had easy access by the Pisuerga valley to Valladolid and 
Madrid, by the Ebro valley to Navarre and Aragon, and by the 
Reinosa Pass to Santander and the ocean ; and it probably owed its 
name as much to the natural rock-castles of its environment as to 
the actual castles built by the Christians. 

Within the Atlantic belt of climate, Basques, Galicians, Asturians, Portu- 
and Portuguese, all have the same folklore ; and Galician is simply ^f^^ 
a dialect of Portuguese. But the geological change from the fertile 
Devonian rock of Asturias to the barren Cambrian rock of Galicia 
doomed the non-fishing population of Galicia to a life of constant 
poverty and hardship. And, while the famous nurses of Spain 
come from the fishing Galicians, the non-fishing population has 
made " Gallego " a term of general contempt (" Knock-about ") 
throughout Castile. 

All round the plateau, however, population is now increasing at Minerals. 
the expense of the interior, especially where the scarp is richest in 
mineral wealth (cf. p. 49) and in water-power. Fine iron is 
abundant along the sea-face of both the Cantabrians and the 
Nevada ; and, though at present it is only worked properly in the 
neighbourhood of coal, i.e. in the north, the better quality in the 
south is already attracting attention. Other minerals are abundant. 
Indeed, owing to the variety of rock, Spain has a great variety of 
mineral wealth, including copper and lead, mercury and silver, and 
rock-salt. And, where the most important minerals are lacking, e.g. 
at Barcelona, which is near neither coal nor iron, there commerce is 

On the other hand, want of fuel or water-power, constitutional The 
or climatic lethargy, poor transport, and other drawbacks are very Arabs, 
adverse to progress ; and the country has never recovered from the 
expulsion of the Arabs. For the Arab was peculiarly useful to 
Spain. As a native of desert and barren steppe, he knew the value 
of water both for pedigree stock and for plants with cooling 
astringent juices. He irrigated the lowlands into "gardens," by 
means specially of the Jenil and Guadalaviar, the Segura and 
Sangonera, thus incidentally minimising the chances of malaria ; he 
introduced the orange and the mulberr}' ; he drew wine and oil 
from what the Christians had called desert ; he gave Spain her 
famous mules and merino sheep. He also changed the old Roman 
games into chivalric contests, in which mounted lancers showed 
coolness and dexterity rather than brute strength and ferocity ; and 
to his religious influence Spain owes — perhaps, the Inquisition — 
certainly that sense of brotherhood which makes the Spanish 
peasant the most democratic in Europe. 


The Continent of Europe 


Social Even the unsatisfactory relations between employers and 

Relations, employed are a legacy from the Arabs. For Arab cultivators lived 
on, despised and ignored, amongst their conquerors for generations 
before their final expulsion from the country ; and during this time 
the attitude of indifference and irresponsibility became so ingrained 
in the employers that it has remained as their permanent attitude 
towards their employees. And the results would have been worse 
than they actually are if so many factors had not otherwise made for 
unity — the compactness and isolation of the area, the uniformity of 
relief and climate, the common religion and common language, 
and the artificial centralisation. These have been strong enough 
to minimise the natural antagonism between the arid and sparsely 
peopled, but united, Castilian plateau and the fertile and densely 
peopled, but disconnected, units of the coast-land 




No other country that is at all comparable with Spain in natural 
advantages, is so sparsely populated. The population on the 
Meseta, i.e. in Leon and Old Castile, New Castile and Estremadura, 
does not reach 65 persons to the square mile; in Aragon it 
is less, and in Navarre it is not much better (76). Indeed, the 
average for the whole country is about the same as for Connaught, 
the poorest part of Ireland, And this seems to be wholly due to 
war at home and to drain of population to America. There is 
evidence that the population 2000 years ago was three times what 
it is now ; and things would be much worse than they are but for 
the provinces which have been, and still often are, considered the 
most backward, the Basque (220) and Galicia (176), Catalonia 
(158) and Asturias (149). Even in the specifically Moorish 
provinces the only one with an average appreciably over 100 is 
Valencia (180). Area, however, must be considered as well as 
density ; and the total result is that natural antagonisms, e.g. of 
mobile herdsman and sedentary gardener, are accentuated between 
the meseta and its outlying neighbours, Galicia having more people 
than either of the Castiles, while Andalusia has as many as both of 
them put together. 

Though war and emigration have been the great influences in 
the past, there are now other influences at work. Communications 
and education are still .both more or less primitive. It is not 
very long since (1909) there were 5000 villages in the land which 
could not be reached by wheeled traffic ; and where, 1 000 years 
ago, Arabs were teaching geography from globes in free schools 
to children of both sexes, 75 p.c. of the population is now said 
to be unable to read and write. Pack-mules and ox-carts are still 
quite common ; and the recent development of railways has done 

XIV Spain 175 

a minimum of good because, for strategic reasons, the Spanish 
gauge is different from (wider than) the French. Again, heavy 
taxation unfairly distributed has been very adverse to farming, in 
which the implements are still often of the most primitive kind, 
while the stock has deteriorated terribly. Here, too, the national 
pastime of bull-fighting adds to the difficulty. For, except on the 
" deltaic " islands of the Guadalquivir, the bulls not only are given 
the best land, but also need a very large area/(?r caput — to prevent 
them from fighting one another. Still another adverse influence 
is the competition of what is almost the "forced labour" of the 
convent industrial schools, e.g. in laundry work, with the labour of 
non-clerical adults. 

For various reasons these adverse influences have had least Northern 
effect in the northern provinces. As compared with the rest of "o^^ices. 
Spain, these provinces are specifically mountainous and forested ; 
coal and iron are abundant in the Cantabrian section, and can 
easily be imported in Catalonia ; both the Basques and the 
Catalans are naturally enterprising, as the people of Navarre and 
Galicia are naturally industrious ; and the climate is favourable to 
the development of textile industries, while the position favours 
access to and from the great markets of Western Europe. 

The Cantabrian provinces specialise in mining. Of course, Galicia. 
the staple industry in Galicia is still fishing, mainly for sardines ; 
but the reckless methods employed, e.g. the (illegal) use of dynamite 
on dark nights, and other causes, e.g. change of temperature ^ in the 
coastal waters, are making the fish scarcer and scarcer. Vigo still 
has a large export industry (valued at ;^5oo,ooo a year), and heavy 
catches are made off Marin (the port of Pontevedra) and Villagarcia ; 
but it is significant that the two ports of Vigo and Corunna account 
for nearly half the emigrants from Spain. On the other hand, the 
mineral wealth of Galicia is being developed, the tin being in 
special demand {e.g. for tinning sardines, Vigo alone exporting yearly 
over 4000 tons of tinned sardines) ; and the growth of the Asturias 
coal-mining makes a regular demand for pit-props, e.g. from 
Villagarcia and Corcubion. The fertility of the Minho valley, 
especially between Orense and Lugo, " the hub of Galicia " — which 
it certainly was in Moore's retreat — is extraordinary, the sides 
being devoted to vine and olive and the plain to maize. 

Asturias was never completely subjugated even by the Romans, Oviedo. 
and half the " Transmontane " mountaineers still reveal, in 
physique and language, their purity of race and independence ; but 
their historic struggle for independence was fatal to commercial 
enterprise, and this largely accounts for the slow development of 
the area in modern times, though it contains the best coal-field in 
Spain. The field is in the basin of the Nalon (or Pruvia), and has 

^ The sardine is a delicate fish, and avoids water approaching 68° F. 


The Continent of Europe 





made Oviedo the most important coal-producing province in the 
country. The high humidity causes such heavy falls of snow in 
winter that transport inland is much impeded, but there are good 
ports at Gijon {via Musel) and Aviles. The climate favours 
textile industries, e.g. at Aviles, as the coal favours glass-working, 
e.g. at Gijon. The city of Oviedo, besides commanding the Royal 
Road to Madrid via the Pajares Pass — which cost so much that 
Charles V. asked whether it was paved with silver — is the centre of 
a thriving agricultural district, raising a considerable amount of beet- 

As the province of Oviedo is specifically a coal-mining area, so 
that of Santander is specifically concerned with the mining of iron 
and zinc ; and the town of Santander, a large smelting centre, is 
growing faster than any other town in Spain. The mountain 
pastures support an important dairy industry, and sugar-beet gives 
a good yield. In Vizcaya, on the other hand, farming is rather 
neglected ; but Bilbao has very important shipbuilding and other 
industries along the Nervion river. Much of the local ore is shipped 
from cantilever piers dotted along the rugged coast. Iron ore is 
also worked — with lead and zinc — in Guipuzcoa, but here again 
agriculture becomes important, both the apples and the chestnuts 
being famous. Irun commands the frontier bridge across the 
Bidassoa, and Pasages is a rising port, San Sebastian — in spite of 
its old strategic importance — having now become little more than a 
summer resort. 

The Pyrenean provinces, like the Cantabrian, illustrate the 
Provinces, adverse influence of extreme isolation, for the two seaward areas of 
Navarre and Catalonia are far ahead of the central Aragon ; but, 
while the sea influence in Navarre is specifically 
climatic, in Catalonia it is more economic. 
Indeed, as the Cantabrian area tends to mining, 
so the Pyrenean tends to be industrial, especi- 
ally outside the Ebro basin proper. In the 
upper part of the basin the mountainous land 
of Navarre is rich in forest and park-land, and 
therefore its special product is live-stock of all 
kinds, especially coarse-woolled sheep ; and its 
apple orchards are famous. The position of 
Pamplona, on the flank of the Ebro and com- 
manding the Roncesvalles Pass, made it a very 
important fortress; Tudela is at the head of the Imperial Canal. 
The lower part of the Ebro basin is less favourable. There are 
great extremes of heat and cold, and nearly all the rain falls in 
frequent thunderstorms ; much of the parched chalky soil is saturated 
with salt, and many streams are brackish ; and the only hope is in 
irrigation. Even Zaragoza itself, a typical "oasis" city, with a 


The harbour of San 

XIV Spain 177 

range of temperature often varying 50° F. within a single month, 
is important now only as a railway-junction. 

Catalonia, with a central watershed in the Sierra Llena, is in a Catalonia, 
much better position. The climate is still rather extreme and 
subject to sudden changes of temperature, and the amount of dust 
in the air favours mist and fog ; but it is quite favourable to 
agriculture, and gives a great variety of crops, tspecially wine and 
nuts. The people are frugal and industrious as well as enterprising 
and energetic ; and careful cultivation and irrigation have made the 
agricultural part of the province more or less able to support the 
manufacturing and industrial part. 

The old province is now divided into four new provinces — (Jerona. 
Gerona, Lerida, Barcelona, and Tarragona. As a frontier province, 
Gerona has had rather a chequered history. The town of Gerona 
itself has been besieged twenty-five times — though only taken four 
times — and the fortress of Figueras is still considered the key to the 
frontier either by Port Bon and the Col de Perthus or round Cape 
Creus and by Rosas Bay. Unfortunately, the best agricultural land 
is the Ter plain between Gerona and Figueras, so that agriculture 
is backward ; but the province is well forested, the cork being 
specially good, and there are profitable sea fisheries. A great many 
sheep are reared, and the wool is manufactured locally, especially at 
Gerona ; cotton and linen industries are also scattered over a 
number of little towns ; Port Bon is one of the most important 
commercial outlets of Spain ; and the Trans-Pyrenean railway to Aix 
will greatly aid commercial development. 

Except for a few tracts of lowland, mainly along the Llobregat, Barcelona, 
the Barcelona province consists of forested mountains, generally 
rich in minerals (lignite, lead, zinc, salt) ; and, as both the Llobregat 
and the Ter supply considerable amounts of power, and as the 
import of coal and raw materials by sea is very easy, the province 
has become the chief centre of Spanish industry and commerce, 
and population is strongly drawn to it, Barcelona (560,000) rival- 
ling even Madrid in size. All the typical industries of Spain are 
found here, including woollen, cotton, and silk textiles, worked iron, 
fancy leather, art furniture, etc. ; and the easy access inland round 
Monserrat by the Llobregat valley has carried the textiles up-stream 
to water-power. Barcelona city is thus a real industrial metropolis, 
specialising in textiles ; and its relations with its hinterland are very 
ancient. It seems to have taken its name from the Carthaginian 
general, Hamilcar Barca, who preferred the hill-girt open beach, 
with its access to the Llobregat, to any site on the troublesome 
river-mouths of Catalonia; and, though the union of Castile and 
Aragon, and the contemporaneous discovery of America, trans- 
ferred the balance of power elsewhere for a time, Barcelona 
has long ago regained the prominent place— by providing a 



The Continent of Europe 






fine artificial harbour — though the people still "owe the Castilian 
a grudge." 

Lerida is the most backward of the Catalan provinces, again 
largely for historic reasons. The town itself, on a height overlooking 
the Segre and the famous Llanos de Urgel, is the key of both 
Catalonia and Aragon ; and, as such, it has been a constant scene 
of warfare since the time of the Punic Wars. The Llanos themselves 
are redeemed from their natural barrenness by irrigation, but the 
rest of the province is very mountainous ; and the abundant water- 
power is neglected, except for saw-mills. A very large number of 
sheep are raised, and leather and woollen industries are carried on 
in Lerida town. 

Tarragona, though mountainous, is very fertile, and produces 
quantities of wine and oil, the wine specially round Tarragona 
itself and the oil largely from round Tortosa. Almonds are also a 
typical product, especially round the junction of Reus. The typical 
Catalan people have, however, developed more or less all the natural 
resources, e.g. silver and lead, marble and china-clay ; and manu- 
factures include leather and all kinds of textiles. The old city of 
Tarragona occupies a typical cone-hill (550 feet) overlooking the 
sea ; the new one, which has been provided with a good artificial 
harbour, is famous for its underground wine-cellars, one of the 
typical exports being the " Grand Chartreuse " liqueur. 

The Levante provinces have a strip of very fertile lowland 
running along the coast, the site of the famous huertas or t^egas, 
so that they are predominantly agricultural. Behind the lowland 
the relief rises in terraces to a height which accounts for the very 
large number of sheep and goats, especially sheep, raised in 
Castellon and Valencia, and which guarantees a large amount of 
water for irrigation — though the Turia feeds so many huertas that, 
except in flood-time, it is a very scanty stream when it reaches the 
sea ; and in front of them the low level and the exposure to the 
" Levant " wind have raised a series of sand-dunes, which in places 
completely block the movement of river-water seaward, and are 
very favourable to salt industries, e.g. at Torrevieja. These conditions 
are also very favourable for irrigation, and the Turia and the Jucar 
are invaluable for this purpose; indeed, all the typical crops are 
irrigated, e.g. the rice of the Valencia vegas, the dates of Elche — 
which exports over 20,000 tons of dates annually — the oranges of 
Castellon and Valencia, the raisins of Valencia and Denia, the 
almonds of Alicante, the onions of Gandia. 

Rice and cane-sugar are important *' home " crops, but the 
special work is the raising of sub-tropical fruit for export ; and for 
this the warm, dry, equable climate is as favourable as it is for the 
rearing of bees and silkworms and for the curing of " Valencia " 
raisins and tobacco (at Alcoy). Some of the soil is naturally very 

XIV Spain 179 

fertile, especially along the Segura ; but the prosperity of the area 
is based on the Moorish irrigation-works, and in appearance and 
industries {e.g. weaving of esparto) the land is typically Moorish. 
Both Valencia and Alicante are typically Moorish towns, with white 
flat-roofed houses ; and Alicante, with a citadel perched on a hill 
400 feet above the sea, has its houses arranged in the typical 
crescent and approached through avenues of palm-trees. Valencia, 
as a central harbour, e.g. attracting the almond-trade of Palma (de 
Mallorca), has become the third city in the country, with a popula- 
tion of over 200,000. 

The Segura valley, especially at the confluence with the Murcia 
Sangonera, continues the typical Moorish horticulture into the 
province of Murcia ; indeed, both Lorca, the old key to Murcia in 
the Moorish wars, and the city of Murcia have typical huertas, 
specialising in oranges and silk, and both suffer greatly from 
occasional floods.^ But the line of the Nevada-Balearic uplift 
makes the area specifically a mining one, and the large export of 
esparto is a significant comment on the climate generally. Iron, 
copper, silver -lead, sulphur, and saltpetre are all abundant, 
especially round Cartagena. The mines near the city are very 
productive, and have materially helped to revive its old prosperity. 
This was based on its importance as a naval station, with the 
largest harbour in Spain except that of Vigo ; and, therefore, the 
city not only suffered greatly from the results of the Spanish- 
American war, but also lost some of its commerce in the meantime 
to the neighbouring " iron " port of Porman. The relatively 
greater development of "iron" ports, e.g. Garrucha and Aguilas, 
is a feature of this southern coast, and is connected with the use 
of cables for bringing down the ore from the sierra ; for instance, 
Aguilas ships as much iron-ore to Great Britain alone as Cartagena 
ships altogether. Even where other ores, e.g. silver-lead and zinc, 
are of importance, as at Mazarron, the chief progress is in the 
shipping of iron. 

The Murcian province of Albacete is the pivot of S.E. Spain. Anda- 
It contains a part of La Mancha, and is drained via the town of liisia. 
Albacete (famous for saffron) to the Jucar basin, by Hellin to that 
of the Segura, and by Alcaraz to the Guadalquivir. Westward from 
this point, roughly marked by the boss of La Sagra (8000 feet), the 
" Andalusian " area combines the characteristic features of all the 
other areas already referred to. The lowland in many places 
resembles that of the Ebro basin in its saltish soil and brackish 
lakes, though the area of rich land is much greater ; the coast-lands 
repeat the horticulture of the Levante ; the mountains rival the 
Cantabrians in their mineral wealth. Its physique and climate, 

* During the War of the Spanish Succession, Murcia was even defended by the 
intentional flooding of the huerta. 


The Continent of Europe 


however, set it apart. Its scenery is unique in the peninsula ; the 
winter dimate of Seville is almost ideal ; its great river — the Roman 
Boetis, which gave the area its old name of Boetica — and its 
isolation combined to " force " an early civilisation ; that civilisation 
produced such world-famous monuments as the Alcazar of Seville, 
the Mosque of Cordova, and the Alhambra of Granada ; but it 
implied an alien domination which accounted for the mixture of 
race and the differentiation from the Castilians in earlier times, 
and accounts for the backward state of the area in agriculture and 
industries in modern times. 

Almeria. Each province of the area tends to have stretches of lowland 

and mountain — in different proportions. For instance, Almeria 
has a great ridge of sierra (8000 feet) rich in iron and silver-lead, 
and fertile gorges and coast-lands that produce all kinds of sub- 
tropical fruit, especially almonds and the white " keeping " grape. 
Thus Adra exports almonds from the coast-land and lead from the 
Berja highland; the town of Almeria exports 2,000,000 barrels of 
grapes a year and large quantities of almonds, and its export of iron- 
ore (and manganese) is increasing very rapidly. A quantity of iron- 
ore also goes by the line from Baza to Lorca for export via Aguilas. 

Granada. Granada presents still greater contrasts. It faces to the 
Guadalquivir, and its strip of harbourless coast is so much isolated 
by the loftiest part of the Nevada — including the Mulahacen and 
Veleta peaks — that there has been little encouragement to develop 
such roadsteads as that of Motril ; and the only railway connection 
with the coast at all is via Loja (the old key to Granada in the 
Moorish wars) and Malaga, or via Guadix and Almeria. This in 
turn has retarded mining, though the sierra is rich in iron and 
other minerals, e.g. alabaster. At the same time these adverse 
relief features give the province a unique river-system, including 
the Genii and Guadiana-menor, the chief feeders of the Andalusian 
plain. As the soil is exceedingly fertile, the area was practically 
self-contained ; and, as the Guadalfeo gives access by the chief 
valley of the Alpujarras to Motril, it made an impregnable refuge 
for the Moors for many centuries. 

The loss of Cuba has led to a revival of the old Moorish 
industry of sugar-growing, and it is quite typical of the climate that 
both beet- and cane-sugar can be raised, e.g. at Loja and Granada. 
The latter, which may take its name from the pomegranate 
(granada), occupies a magnificent site 2200 feet above the sea, on 
the "peninsula" between the Genii and its Darro tributary, in a 
vega of almost incredible fertility ; and its hinterland has been for 
ages famous for its fine wool. 

Malaga. The greater proportion of lowland in the south of Malaga has 

caused the latter province to develop seaward ; and this has been 
further encouraged in two ways. The famous Penarrubia gorge 




cut by the Guadalhorce has greatly facilitated railway access to the 
coast — at the city of Malaga ; and the quantities of silt, rich in 
organic matter, brought down by the Nevada torrents on to the 
coastal sill in the lee of the Gibraltar peninsula, has led to an 
important fishing industry. These two conditions have attracted 
foreign capital in a unique degree ; so that while the city stands 
next to Seville for the export of olive-oil, and has also a large export 
of wine and fruit (raisins and almonds), there has been a great 
development of industries on the spot, e.g. textile, metallic, ceramic, 
etc. The hinterland is characteristically rich in iron, especially 
near Marbella, and in lead ; and even textile industries flourish, e.g. 
at Antequera, also famous for its beet-sugar industry. Cane-sugar 
is cultivated on the coast ; and, as the spread of viticulture in 
Argentina is checking the export of typical " sherry " wines and so 
leading to a contraction of the area under vines in the Malaga 
province, the sugar industry will probably continue to increase in 
importance. The very mild and equable climate makes canary-seed 
another typical product. 

The province of Cadiz has a magnificent bay in a most com- Cadiz. 
manding position on one of the greatest trade-routes in the world ; 
but various causes are adverse to its prosperity. The only mineral 
wealth of importance is the salt evaporated along the coast, e.g. at 
Cadiz and San Lucar ; and the special product inland, the sherry of 
Jerez, is one for which the demand is decreasing, though it happens 
to be one of the most wholesome wines in the world. Further, the 
Spanish-American War dealt a great blow to the Naval Station — 
which is on the island of San Fernando (Isla de Leon) — as to those 
at Cartagena and Ferrol ; and the continuation of the direct line 
from Ronda ^ to San Roque (for Gibraltar) and Algeciras, and the 
popularity of the latter as a winter resort, have taken away from 
Cadiz much of its old importance as the terminus of the trans- 
continental railway-route. 
At the same time, the 
facilities for ocean traffic at 
Gibraltar have far outstripped 
those at Cadiz, though even 
the inner harbour at the 
latter has now been dredged 
to a depth of 40 feet. 

Site, relief, and climate Gibraltar, 
combine to give Gibraltar 
almost unique advantages — 
strategic and economic. The old importance of the site, as separat- 
ing Cadiz from Cartagena and Brest from Toulon, is a fair index of 
its modern importance, as linking the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic 
^ Ronda has the finest bull-ring in Spain and a most famous breed of horses. 





/ '' 



















•.Xcjie •.q 

The Strait of Gibraltar. 

1 82 The Continent of Europe ch. 

and the Old World to the New. Most of the native inhabitants are 
of Genoese descent ; about 3000 steamers call at the port every year, 
and half of them coal there. The site is a link site in other 
respects ; for some of its flora and fauna are not found elsewhere 
in Europe, e.g. the Barbary apes, and its caves have yielded mammal 
remains of the greatest interest, including a human skull at the 
lowest stage of evolution above the " Missing-link " of Java. 

"The From the sandy coasts of old sea-floor, which makes the 

Rock." neutral ground — with its unclimbable iron fence — a natural frontier 
belt, the Rock rises almost sheer to a height of 1200 feet, and then 
runs — with a typical sierra crest — for a couple of miles due south to 
O'Hara's Tower (1400 feet), only to drop by precipitous terraces to 
the Europa Flats, which at Europa Point drop again precipitately 
into ocean depths. From the crest of the sierra, with an elaborate 
system of range-finding, the great guns command the Straits (12 
miles wide) strategically, as the Signal Station (1255 feet) commands 
them commercially. Between the La Luna heights (2600 feet) in 
the west and the Rock itself the Bay of Algeciras gives safe access 
to an enclosed harbour in which a whole fleet can anchor secure 
from torpedo attack, with facilities for coaling every vessel and 
docking seven or eight of them. Again, the caves — so typical of 
limestone — which, like similar ones at Ronda, have produced such 
valuable remains, seem to have suggested the tunnelling operations 
that have such an important relation to the defence. Indeed, the 
precipitous eastern flank of the sierra is scarcely approachable except 
by tunnels, e.g. above Catalan Bay. 

The From this abrupt eastern flank the sierra sinks more gradually 

westward, so that the natural site for the town was facing the open 
Atlantic ; and this, with the north-and-south direction of the sierra 
(cf. p. 162), accounts both for the mild, even climate, and for the 
relatively heavy rainfall. The average temperature is only 65° F., 
with a mean maximum only 12° F. higher; and the average rainfall 
is about 34 inches, but varies from about half that up to nearly 
twice it. This guarantees enough to supply the whole community, 
from carefully constructed underground tanks, with pure water for 
drinking and cooking purposes in spite of the small area (3 m. x | m.). 
This smallness and historic isolation from, if not actual hostility to, 
Spain made the place dependent on Marocco for supplies ; and it 
seems to have been the threat of a sultan to withhold supplies, 
unless full freedom of trade were granted to his ships, that converted 
Gibraltar into a free port as early as 1705. It is curious, there- 
fore, that it is very largely the political difficulties which centre on 
Marocco nowadays, that prevent Gibraltar from reaping the full 
advantage of its economic position. 

Morena The Sierra Morena bears somewhat the same relation to the 

Andalusian plain on the north as the Sierra Nevada does on the 



XIV Spain 183 

south ; and along its face and spurs mineral wealth of various kinds 
is abundant. In the province of Huelva it is specially copper, the 
Rio Tinto mines having been worked for 2000 years, and the Tharsis 
mines almost as long; but iron and manganese are becoming 
steadily more and more important. At the other end, in the 
province of Jaen, Linares has produced silver- lead also for 2000 
years ; and the hinterland of Jaen is as famous for wool as the fore- 
ground of Palos is for fishing (sardine and tunny). In the inter- 
mediate area, i.e. the province of Cordova, the Sierra Morena is 
rich in both copper and silver-lead ; it produces fine wool and very 
large quantities of olive-oil ; and in recent years the Belmez coal-field 
has had an annual output of fully 500,000 tons of good coal — 
30 p.c. of it being anthracite — actually on the direct line of rail 
north into the Guadiana basin. 

The focus of all Andalusia is the province of Seville. Though Seville, 
there is a large export of minerals (mainly iron and copper ores) 
from the port of Seville, the province is essentially agricultural, the 
most important local minerals being the marble and chalk of Moron, 
and the china-clay of Lebrija and Osuna. Except along the hilly 
frontier of Cadiz and Malaga and north-west of the Guadalquivir, 
where the spurs of the Sierra Morena reach Lora, the province is 
very flat and exceedingly fertile. There is a large production of 
wheat and barley, and of wine (Manzanilla and Amontillado) ; but 
oranges (both sweet and bitter) and olives are the special crops, 
and the yield of oil is very large- — twice that of Cordova (50,000 
tons), which has about the same area under olives (560,000 acres). 
Still more typical is the stock-farming, horses and cattle, sheep and 
goats, all being of fine quality ; and this accounts for the typical 
*' animal " industries of the province, e.g. the famous historic shoe- 
making industry of Ecija (noted also for its woollens) and the 
fancy leather of Seville itself and Utrera. The latter is one of the 
centres where fighting bulls are bred, between the " Mesopotamian " 
marsh-lands of the Guadalquivir and the Nevada moorlands. 

Seville itself, the fourth city in Spain, has always been one of the city of 
great tidal ports of the country ; and the river is now being dredged Seville, 
and canalised to admit vessels drawing 25 feet of water. It is also 
a great industrial centre, specially famous for its cigar and porcelain 
works ; the patron saints of the city are said to have been potters, 
and the gipsy suburb of Tirana has manufactured porcelain for 
many hundreds of years. The low level (30 feet) and the consequent 
windings of the river have exposed the city to constant floods, and 
that perhaps accounts for the Romans preferring the site of Carmona 
for their great stronghold. Crowds of visitors flock to Seville at 
Easter, when the orange-trees are in flower, the bulls "spring-ripe" 
for fighting, and the religious services almost unique for colour ; 
but its real beauty is best seen at Christmas, when the oranges are 

1 84 

The Continent of Europe 





ripe, and the violets and carnations in flower, and tlie white lines of 
the typical Moorish houses are not glaring. 

The ancient kingdom of Castile includes a typical piece of the 
Cantabrians in the province of Santander (cf. p. 167), and an 
exceptionally fertile piece of the Ebro valley in the province of 
Logrono — where the Rioja plain raises quantities of good wine, 
especially round Logrono ^ itself ; but the mass of it consists of 
the most characteristic part of the meseta. On every side of this 
except towards Leon and Murcia there is a natural frontier of 
mountain, e.g. the Demanda, the Cuenca, and the ISIorena sierras, 
giving rise respectively to the Douro, the Tagus, and the Guadiana ; 
and the Guadarrama system divides Old Castile, i.e. the part freed 
first from Moorish rule, from New Castile. The latter, as the 
more cut off from oceanic influence, has the severer climate, though 
even in Old Castile the extremes of heat and cold are very great. 
In both, however, the plateau itself is so fertile that, after rain, 
quite a luxuriant vegetation springs up ; and where a heavy sub-soil 
is capped by a very porous and friable material, i.e. a very bad 
conductor, percolation is so rapid and evaporation so slow that the 
land is extraordinarily productive, as in Palencia and Toledo. 
Elsewhere the land is useless except for sheep, and even these have 
to emigrate in winter to the lower levels of Estremadura. The 
typical scenery is like that of La Mancha ("The Droughty Land"), 
described in Don Quixote. 

Old Castile, as the upper basin of the Douro, pivots on the 
Sierra de la Demanda, between the provinces of Burgos and Soria. 
The latter is a land of austere mountains, so barren and poor that 
the population does not reach 38 per square mile ! Burgos, though 
less rugged, is scarcely more fertile, except in the Ebro basin ; but 
it has two advantages. Its large area gives great facilities for sheeph 
rearing, though the town of Burgos is no longer famous for its 
cloth and woollens — for which a normal winter, with perhaps 20° of 
frost, still makes demand ; and the Pancorbo Pass controls all 
the natural movement between Madrid and Paris to such an extent 
that it is called "The Iron Gate of Castile." It also offers an 
obvious way of escape from the poverty-stricken Arlanzon basin, 
and there is constant emigration to the more prosperous centres in 
the Basque Provinces and Catalonia. The strategic importance of 
the town of Burgos, where the Arlanzon suddenly turns south-west- 
ward, was increased by its situation on a hill protected by the broad 
and swift river. 

The province of Palencia presents a great contrast to its 
neighbour. Not only is the rainfall heavier, accounting for the 
forest and park-land below the Cantabrians, but the heavy sub-soil 

^ Logrono is a typical hill-town, overlooking the Ebro plain from a height of 
1 200 feet. 

XIV Spain 185 

of the Pisuerga basin yields large crops, e.g. of wheat and ilax ; 
and, as the northern park-land makes famous pasture, the province 
has important old industries in flour-milling and leather-working, in 
linens and woollens, especially rugs. The campos of Palencia 
extend into the province of Valladolid ; and, as there are increased 
facilities for irrigation, especially along the Pisuerga, the province 
shares — in spite of its low rainfall (12 inches at Valladolid itself) — 
with Palencia in the title of "The granary of Spain." Stock-rearing 
is also important, but the old woollen and linen industries cannot 
compete with more favoured centres. The political importance of 
Valladolid city, once the capital of Spain, was based on the same 
control of great cross-routes as has made it in modern times an 
important railway-junction ; but Medina (del Campo), though off 
the line of the Douro, is now more important in this respect. 

The two southern provinces of Old Castile, Avila and Segovia, Avila and 
though drained to the Douro, are essentially mountain rather than Segovia, 
plateau areas ; and the relatively heavy rainfall, which also accounts 
for the extent of forest on the Credos and Cuadarrama slopes, gives 
great facilities for irrigation, i.e. in the superb gardens of the Royal 
Palace at La Cranja. Avila is as famous for its merino wool as 
Segovia is for its grain, and in both the rugged granite sierras 
contain valuable minerals. Segovia is the more interesting town, 
mainly because of Trajan's magnificent aqueduct, built of the 
Cuadarrama granite ; but Avila occupies the more important 
position, commanding the gap between the Credos and the 
Cuadarrama and so the main line from Madrid to Corunna. 

The eastern provinces of New Castile, Cuadalajara and Cuenca, New- 
are much poverty-stricken. Both suffer from drought and from Castile, 
great extremes of temperature, so that their population is very thin 
— only slightly above or below 40 per square mile — and the rearing 
of stock (mainly sheep and goats) is their typical industry. There 
is some floating of pine-timber down the Tagus, but most of the 
area is literally Guadalajara, "Valley of Stones." 

The western provinces are rather more favoured. For instance, Madrid, 
in Madrid the presence of considerable tracts of clay and the 
precipitation on the Cuadarrama heights encourage the growth of 
timber, such as is characteristic of the Royal domains of the 
Escorial and Aranjuez ; there are valuable quarries in the sierra 
itself ; and quantities of live-stock are reared. Above all its central 
position made it the site of the national capital, and so all the 
great railways converge on it. The city of Madrid is almost the 
mathematical centre of the country ; and, as such, it has a certain 
amount of commercial and industrial importance, e.g. in the manu- 
facture of tobacco and leather. But it has an unpleasant climate. 
Its height, its distance from the sea, and its lack of shelter make 
it liable to very sudden and extreme changes, the daily range of 

1 86 The Continent of Europe ch. 

temperature sometimes exceeding 50° F. In winter icy air — 
" which will kill a man without blowing out a candle " — gravitates 
from the Guadarrama heights ; and these again in summer take all 
the moisture out of the normal N.W. wind, leaving the city a prey 
to fiery dust-laden gales from the barren plateau or to a brazen sky 
that sometimes allows a shade temperature of over 108° F. 

Toledo. The " oasis " of Aranjuez, at the Tagus-Jurana confluence in 

the sheltered valley, was therefore really a better site for a capital ; 
and the tongue of land along the Tagus on which the Royal park — 
with its famous elms and sycamores — extends, ought to be politically, 
as it naturally is, part of the " valley " province of Toledo. The 
"valley" lands are well watered from the Toledo Mountains, which 
were densely forested till recently ; and the Alberche, besides its 
value for irrigation, gives a direct line of approach to or from 
Madrid which can be tapped from Salamanca at Talavera, now 
famous only for its pigs — descendants, doubtless, of those that fed the 
hungry army in 1809. The valley pastures feed dairy cattle, draught 
oxen, and fighting bulls ; but the prosperity of the area has been 
hindered by war, for the valley is the most important " line of least 
resistance " in Central Spain, as may be judged from the fact that 
to-day it carries both the main line southwards to Cadiz and the 
main line westwards to Lisbon. The site of Toledo city, on its 
granite boss, guarded by the Tagus on all sides except the north, 
recalls — on a grim and larger scale — that of Durham. Its arch- 
bishop is " primate of all the Spains," and it was the scene of 
innumerable Synods between the fifth century and the sixteenth. 

Ciudad What the Tagus is to the province of Toledo, the Guadiana is 

Real. to Ciudad Real ; but the latter includes a considerable part of the 
La Mancha steppe, with its severe droughts and plagues of locusts. 
To the west and south, however, the land is much more fertile, 
and the climate encourages considerable forests of oak and beech, 
in which large herds of pigs are reared. Alcazar and Valdepenas 
are important railway-junctions, and the line from Valdepenas to 
the great mercury mines at Almaden passes through a valuable 
little coal-field at Puertollano. 

Leon. The old kingdom of Leon had very marked frontiers on all 

sides except the east, and its natural drainage by the Esla and the 
Tormes gave it supreme control of the Middle Douro. The 
modern province of Leon represents the strongest part of the old 
kingdom, strongly guarded by its mountainous frontier on the 
north and west, and pivoting on the Montanas de Leon, through 
which there is easy communication between the Minho and the 
Esla basins only at Munzanel — on the main route from Astorga to 
Corunna and Vigo. Sir John Moore could easily have checked 
Soult here, but wished to entangle him in the Galician glens ; and 
Moore's life was sacrificed only because his men could not resist 

XIV Spain 187 

the wine-cellars of Ponferrada. In the north-west of the province 
the Vierzo is semi-Atlantic in climate, and has rich wooded pastures 
on its hills and rich grain-lands and vineyards in its valleys. In 
this part, too, the people, while less Castilian, have few Moorish 
traits. Indeed, the Maragatos are even said to be a remnant of the 
old Celtiberian natives. 

The province of Salamanca is also strongly placed — against the Sala- 
Gata heights ; but there is relatively easy access into Portugal both °iajica. 
by the Douro valley and via Ciudad Rodrigo and Fuentes d'Onoro 
and into the Tagus basin by Beja and the Alagon. These con- 
ditions imply both the rainfall which accounts for the wealth of 
forest and pasture, famous for its live-stock, and the nodality which 
made the capital the site of a great university, of a most critical 
battle, and of one of the most important railway-junctions in Spain. 
Indeed, it was only the scourge of war that arrested the natural 
development of the area ; and, on the other hand, it was bad 
transport along the actual valley of the Douro that kept the 
intervening province of Zamora free from war, and now condemns 
it to poverty — through neglect of its forests and its mines. 

The feature-lines of Estremadura have a very marked east-and- Estrema- 
west trend, the middle courses of both Tagus and Guadiana — dura, 
separated by the Guadalupe sierra — lying parallel to the Gata-Gredos 
barrier in the north and the Morena barrier in the south. The 
heights, especially near the ocean, are so well forested, with beech 
and oak and chestnut, that the area is very famous for its pigs ; 
but the lowlands are drought-stricken, viper-haunted steppe, liable 
to locusts and seasonal floods, so that almost the only important 
industry is sheep-farming. Historic disadvantages have also handi- 
capped the people. Their natural outlet has been usually through a 
foreign, if not an actively hostile, country ; and landward they were 
far from, and much cut off from, the important centres of national 
life, while the success of Cortes and Pizarro encouraged the best 
of their fellow-countrymen to copy their example, and so robbed 
Estremadura of her finest citizens. 

The province of Caceres has fared rather better than that of Caceres 
Badajoz. It is rather more fertile, especially on the Arroyo plain ; *^^ 
and, as the Tagus valley is more difficult than that of the Guadiana, ^ 
the southern route was the more troubled by war (cf. Badajoz and 
Albuera). On the other hand, though Badajoz is rather the less 
healthy, especially along its great river, it had — until the construction 
of the Tagus-valley line from Lisbon to Madrid — more commercial 
opportunity ; and this compensated to some extent for lack of 
industrial development, and has made most of its modern centres 
more or less important railway-junctions, e.g. Merida and Zafra. 
The precise historic outlet of the Caceres basin was by the Via 
Lata which ran from Gades to Rome, and which is carried across 

1 88 

The Continent of Europe 


the Tagus at Al-Cantara by "The Bridge" — 20 yards higher than 
the Forth Bridge, with central arches wider than the dome of St. 
Paul's, 1800 years old, and still bearing Trajan's hexameter : 
Pontem perpetui mansurum in saecula mundi. 







Within a well-defined frontier-belt of sparse population along 
river-gorge and mountain-crest, Portugal forms a more or less natural 
unit, profoundly influenced by the Atlantic climatically, but curiously 
independent of it otherwise. Traz-os-Montes was the only one of the 
six old provinces which did not touch the Atlantic, and yet access 
to the ocean is very poor. All the estuaries of the larger rivers are 
used; but the Minho and the Guadiana are frontier rivers, while 
the Vougo and the Sado empty into lagoons. There are valuable 
salt-pans, and in the north the salt has encouraged for ages a busy 
glass industry, e.g. at Figueira and Leiria ; but even the mouth of 
the Mondego is little used, and the ship-canal from Aveira to the 
ocean has probably never paid even the cost of its construction a 
century ago. 

The relief of the country is varied, though it nowhere reaches 
a height of 7000 feet ; and it may be roughly described as 
mountainous to the north of the Tagus and lowland to the south, 
though there are valuable vegas (or veigas) on the Minho flood-plain 
and crinas (plateau-basins) in Traz-os-Montes, while in the south 
Algarve is almost entirely mountainous. The Estrella sierra is the 
natural divide both physically and climatically, and so ethnically. 
Exposure to the Atlantic gives the country the richest flora in 
Europe, and numbers of plants have been imported — from the 
New World and elsewhere, e.g. the agave ; but the Estrella flora 
is Alpine, while that of Alemtejo is almost Saharan, and that of 
Algarve is tropical, while that of Traz-os-Montes is almost Mediter- 
ranean (cf the olive and silk industry of Braganza). The onion 
is as typical of the north, e.g. Ovar, as the carob is of the south. 

About six-sevenths of the total population is found north of the 
Estrella, the density round the Paiz de Vinho, i.e. the port wine country, 
exceeding 400 to the square mile ; and the type there is largely 
" Galician," with Roman and Suevic and Visigoth elements, while 
to the south it is largely Arab and Berber and Negro and markedly 
shorter in stature. Everywhere, however, there has been a great 
mixture of blood ; and this perhaps accounts for the relatively high 
standard of character and intelligence amongst the half-breeds in 
Portuguese areas abroad, e.g. Brazil. And perhaps no other country 
in Europe could have produced a " Mozarabic " type — Portuguese 
by birth, Christian by creed, Berber by speech, and Arab by 
custom. On the other hand, no other country in the world, with 

XIV Portugal 189 

equal advantages, has 45 p.c of its area uncultivated; and even in 
Oporto 70 p.c. of the population is illiterate. 

Southern Portugal has three typical features, the lowlands of Southern 
Estremadura, the upland plains of Alemtejo, and the mountains of ProvinceB. 
Algarve. The Sierra de Monchique, which runs out into the ocean 
as Cape St. Vincent, gives Algarve a relatively heavy rainfall and 
rich copper-bearing beds (cf. Tharsis) ; cork and almonds are typical 
exports from Faro, and copper from Villa Real de San Antonio, 
and the osier-work (baskets) of Louie is very famous. But com- 
munication inland is difficult, the coast is inhospitable except for 
the refuge of Lagos — famous in war rather than peace, and the 
hinterland is unhealthy. This is the essential drawback of Alemtejo 
to-day, at all events south of Beja ; but historically it has suffered 
from the fact that its most fertile areas are along the Spanish 
frontier, really fine olive-oil coming from round the frontier fortress 
of Elvas, only a dozen miles from Badajoz. The mineral wealth 
is considerable, especially copper between Aljustrel and Beja and 
gold between Beja and Evora ; but it is little developed, mainly 
owing to lack of transport. 

The unhealthy marsh-lands of Estremadura are specially devoted Lisbon. 
to the raising of bulls, while the drier parts raise good wheat. 
Lisbon, on its terraced hillside, had its approach from landward 
guarded of old by the fortresses of Abrantes and Santarem, and from 
seaward by the fortress of Cascaes, now one of the summer resorts 
of the Portuguese Riviera (south of Cape Roca), where the people 
of Lisbon take refuge from their mild but oppressive atmosphere 
with its very high average humidity. There is an important sardine 
fishery off the coast, which has its headquarters at Setubal. 

Northern Portugal pivots on the province of Beira, astride of Northern 
the Estrella ; and, as the Mondego flows right round the eastern ^ovinces. 
end of the sierra, the ancient stronghold of Guarda has become the 
most important railway-junction in Portugal except, possibly, that 
of Abrantes. Sheep-farming is important to the south-east, e.g. 
near Castello Branco, where there are busy woollen industries ; 
better access to the sea encourages mining to the north-west, e.g. at 
Viz^u (tin and wolfram ^). In the extreme north the wide cultivation 
of maize and the presence of forests account for the importance of 
pig-rearing, e.g. at Lamego, famous for " Lisbon " hams. But the 
most typical industry is the salt-making along the low sandy shore, 
e.g. at Aveiro. To the south the inroads of the sand, e.g. at Leiria, 
have been stopped by wide planting of pine-trees on the lines 
followed on the French Landes ; and land is being reclaimed for 
cattle-pasture and rice-growing — a typical industry between Bussaco 
and Aveiro and between Coimbra and Figueira. But historically 

^ Both minerals are found widely distributed in the province, e.g. at Guarda and 
Castello Branco. 


The Continent of Europe ch. xiv 



the blown sand was another line of defence in front of the granite 
ridge of Cintra, for the sand extends practically as far south as 
Peniche, and from there to Cape Roca — i.e. the foreground of 
Vimiera and Torres Vedras — is a line of sheer and lofty cliffs. 

The balance of commercial power, however, is on the Douro, 
Oporto holding to Lisbon somewhat the same relation as Barcelona 
holds to Madrid. 'The river itself is crowded with small steamers, 
— though large boats cannot even reach Oporto, but have to use 
the artificial harbour at Leixoes; and the hardy and industrious 
peasantry are the best part of the Portuguese population, live-stock 
and fish, maize and olives, and — above all — wine being the typical 
products. Textile industries are found in the older centres, e.g. 
Braga (cotton) and Braganza (silk) — though Oporto itself is the 
great textile centre — while mining is developing new centres as 
Moncorvo (coal and iron). 

The general outlook for Portugal at present, however, is not 
very bright. Beds of coal and lignite are worked at Cape Mondego 
and Coimbra, and the country is- certainly rich in copper and iron, 
tin and wolfram ; but it is essentially an agricultural area, two-fifths 
of the population being engaged in agriculture, and yet — except in 
occasional years — it cannot feed its own people. This is largely 
due to the extraordinary amount of land which, though reasonably 
good, is left uncultivated from lack of transport ; and one result is 
persistent emigration (40,000 a year), especially from the Oporto 
district. In the meantime, Portugal " monopolises " only two 
products, the natural forest output of corlc (half the world's supply) 
and the wolfram, which is collected by country people ; and, as long 
as the colonies are such a financial burden on the Mother country, 
the essential need for improved transport is not likely to be met 
except where foreign capital is interested, e.g. in the wine area of the 
north and the copper area of the south. 



All things considered, France has the most favourable position PoBition. 
of all the great Powers in the world ; and the early history of her 
expansion over-seas reflects alike the imperial value of being in 
the centre of all the land on the face of the earth, the climatic 
value of being half-way between pole and equator, the economic 
value of being the land gateway between continent and ocean. 

The regional relations of the country are of special interest in Regional 
political geography, partly because her influence has been so much Relations, 
stronger landward than seaward ; and this difference was only 
accentuated by the Revolution. For in earlier days the Navy had 
been essentially an aristocratic service ; and the utter decimation 
of the aristocrats cut off" the supply of officers with hereditary 
instinct for the sea, so that Nelson had to fight a type of officer 
essentially different from — and inferior to — the type with which 
his predecessors, e.g. Hawke, had had to deal. 

The most conspicuous characteristic of the frontier features is Varied 
their variety ; and, as this is equally true of seaward and landward Frontier, 
features, any attempt to classify all the coastal features together, e.g. 
as " Marginal Lowlands," only conveys an absolutely false idea 
of physical uniformity, and divorces the interesting differences 
between the coastal people, e.g. Breton and Gascon, from their 
legitimate geographical base. Further, this variety of coast is seen 
both in detail and in outlook ; for instance, there are ports on 
the English Channel which are naturally only cracks in a steep 
chalk scarp, e.g. Boulogne and Dieppe, while others stand on dune- 
fringed alluvium, e.g. Calais and Dunkirk, and still others are bays 
between granite promontories or cut out of other ancient rock, as 
Cherbourg. Cf. Brest. 

The triple outlook of the coasts has been of profound signi- Coastal 
ficance in the story of French maritime relations. French routes O^Wook. 
to the west and north-west are better now than any others in 
Europe except the British, as in the early days of trans-Atlantic 
expansion they were better than any others except the Iberian ; 
and the French routes to the south and south-east are better 


192 The Continent of Europe ch. 

than those of any other " Atlantic " Power. On this the historic 
influence of the French in Canada and India, and the possession 
by France of such islands as St. Pierre and Reunion, are obvious 
comments. More than half the frontier is sea-coast, and the 
fronting waters include such natural nurseries of fine seamanship 
as the stormy Bay of Biscay and the Gulf of (Roaring) Lions, 
while the paucity of good natural harbours was at once an impulse 
to seamanship and a check on commerce. 
Strategic Further, one early result of spanning Europe from north to 

Ports. south on the Atlantic seaboard was the tendency for the best 
natural harbours to be more or less monopolised for strategic 
purposes ; for, obviously, the best strategic positions were those 
which would otherwise have had most facilities for commerce. 
Thus, the fine advanced sites of Brest and Toulon, with their 
incidental advantages of Viking and Phoenician blood in the 
local populations, were sacrificed to strategic needs ; and the first 
inferior harbours to be "improved" were those on the Narrow 
Seas, i.e. "inside" the Cotentin peninsula, which commanded the 
two ends of the sea-approach on Paris — Cherbourg and Dunkirk. 
Cherbourg — only 70 miles south of the Isle of Wight — betrays by 
its name (Caesaris Burgum, " Caesar's Castle ") its strategic im- 
portance in very early times ; and it was the strength of the position 
between dune and marsh or floodable " carse " that attracted Crom- 
well's attention to Dunkirk (" the Church amongst the Dunes "). 
Port Dues. In days of small ships — when, too, roads were bad, and piracy 
favoured an up-river site — France had a number of useful little 
harbours, some of which are still very useful for local harbours, e.g. 
Caen on the Orme and Dieppe on the Arques ; and, with the 
development of internal wealth and external commerce, the French 
were rich enough to develop estuaries, such as those of the Seine 
and the Loire, and cracks in the chalk scarp or gaps in the sand- 
dunes, as at Boulogne and Calais. The inevitable result, however, 
is that port dues at such places are very high, those at Havre, 
Cherbourg, and Dunkirk, being from four to five times as high as 
the corresponding dues at, e.g., Rotterdam, and more than double 
those even at Hamburg. 
Sea The variety of coastal features referred to above is likely to 

FisMng. prove of great value in the modern development of fishing, with its 
double relation to food supply and naval power ; for the parts of 
the coast that are naturally least useful for commerce, are often 
most useful for the propagation of fish. For instance, the short 
south coast is divided by Cape Couronne into two approximately 
equal {c. 200 miles), but very distinct parts. The rocky eastern 
half is broken by beautiful bays, such as those of Hyeres and Nice, 
and by deep gulfs which make admirable harbours, especially 
those of Marseilles and Toulon ; but the west is a line of dune- 

Channel !« 









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XV France 193 

fringed lagoon, e.g. Vendres and Leucate, the outcome of 
centuries of struggle between the silt-laden floods of Pyrenean and 
Cevennes torrents and the westward gales and drift of Rhone 
mud. Where the coast is high and rocky, the continental shelf is 
narrow, and vice versa; and, where currents meet or part, there 
plankton accumulates, and fish follow it. Cette is the chief 
fishing port here only because its commercial importance, as the 
outlet of the Canal du Midi, causes it to be kept free from sand ; 
and it is mainly the importance of the salt industry that handicaps 
the fishing industry in the more typically lagoon ports. 

Precisely similar conditions obtain on the Atlantic except that Ocean 
the salt industry there is relatively unimportant — because it Fishing, 
cannot compete with the natural advantage of " summer-drought " 
possessed by the Mediterranean coast — and that the Atlantic coast 
is not only double the length of the Mediterranean coast, but has 
also typically oceanic advantages, e.g. of tide and oxygen. The 
Landes district has a characteristic lagoon coast ; but the strength 
of the rivers is small, and that of the west wind is very great. 
Only the largest river, the Leyre, has been able to make any real 
struggle, and its estuary is the Arcachon basin, off which the 
surface temperature of the water varies 20° F. (52° F.-72° F.). 
Between the great oyster - market of Marennes and Sables 
d'Olonne river mud is abundant, and the islands of Oleron 
and Re provide shelter from western gales ; and, as the outport of 
La Pallice is monopolising commerce, the old landward harbour 
of Rochelle is specialising in fishing. Farther north, where the 
east-and-west folds of the old mountains dip seaward as rias, the 
coast becomes bolder, though still there is some island-shelter, 
e.g. Belle He sheltering the Morbihan Gulf; and, though there are 
important fishing-stations both on the mainland and on the islands, 
e.g. Lorient and Croisic, the native people are deep-sea men rather 
than alongshore fishermen. Of course, the special products of this 
west coast are sardines and tunny. From Camant to Sables 
d'Olonne the sardine is supreme, and the fishing has been the 
cause of much trouble at Douarnenez and Concarneau. 

But the north coast is the most important in the fishing industry, Channel 
mainly because it does not confine itself to any one or two kinds of Ports, 
fish, or any one or two fishing-grounds, boats from Dunkirk and 
Gravelines being as common off Iceland as boats from Fecamp and 
Granville are off Newfoundland. The "sea-meadows" off Brittany 
and the " Calvados " bay are famous — or notorious — alike for their 
cunents and for their rich mud, while the eastward ports have easy 
access to the North Sea. The western ports, e.g. Morlaix and St. 
Brieuc — if not St, Malo — are somewhat " out of the way," while 
other industries make great demands on available labour in the 
Calvados ports ; and, on the other hand, the excellent railway service 


The Continent of Europe 




Y. Lor- 


has given special advantages to cross-channel ports, especially the 
"cracks in the chalk." Boulogne and Dieppe, the two greatest 
fish markets in France, have direct services of their own to Paris ; 
and Fecamp, which shares with Boulogne in control of the distant 
fisheries, has very easy access to the Havre and Rouen connections. 
The total value of the industry — which directly employs 100,000 
men afloat, and 60,000 persons on shore — approaches ^^5, 000, 000 a 
year; and of this Boulogne is credited with nearly ;!^i, 000,000, 
while Boulogne and Fecamp are responsible for one-tenth of all the 
herrings landed in European ports. 

The land frontiers are largely of a mountainous character ; but 
the various sections are so distinctly marked off by strips of lowland 
or, at least, by a river gorge, that the mountain obstacle nowhere 
imprisons, though it forms a very real protection. Further, traffic 
is concentrated on these river gaps, and any possible danger-zones 
are defined by them. Thereby the danger is lessened, and the fact 
that different gaps face different nations again minimises risk of 
invasion ; but, unfortunately, the two most important gaps face the 
least friendly nation. 

In days when the Danube was more important than the Rhine, 
and the Rhone than the Seine, the Burgundy Gate was also more 
important than the Lorraine Gate, partly because it joined Danube 
and Rhone, and partly because it was essentially central. In those 
days, too, its narrowness (18 miles) made it very easy to defend ; and, 
in any case, it was rather a route for French expansion, e.g. Richelieu's 
seizure of Alsace, than a dangerous inlet into France. It is significant, 
however, that the main line of railway from Dijon to Lyons keeps to 
the west bank ^ of the Saone, and only crosses the waterway south 
of Lyons. The Lorraine Gate now is much the more important of 
the two, mainly owing to the modern importance of Rhine and Seine, 
but partly to its greater breadth. It carries the Orient-Express route 
eastward, and is marked by such memorable sites as those of Sedan 
and Metz, both on rivers which — unlike the Doubs — lead outwards, 
not inwards. 

The precise frontier line is very varied in feature, and its political 
importance is not in all parts obviously related to its physique. For 
instance, the " permanent " neutrality of Belgium and Switzerland — 
which is not likely to be violated by France — minimises the import- 
ance of the physical frontier. In the case of Belgium it is a purely 
arbitrary line (cf. p. 250), which immensely increases its economic 
value ; in the case of Switzerland, the arbitrary link between the 
Jura and the Alps has a high economic importance, especially as it 
crosses such a natural meeting-place of peoples as a large navigable 
lake. And the Jura (cf. p. 34) are sufficiently high and wide and 
continuous to make an excellent natural barrier between peoples. 
^ The main lines to Paris along both Somme and Seine do the same. 

XV France 195 

The Pyrenees and Alps are an absolute protection without Pyrenees 
absolutely prohibiting peaceful intercourse ; and the latter is as ^Jid Alps, 
much encouraged wiih Italy by the Alpine tunnels as it is dis- 
couraged with Spain by the change of railway gauge. While the 
sierra character of the Pyrenees, however, afforded minimum 
temptation to French aggression into Spain, the convergence of the 
Alpine valleys on the concave side offered maximum temptation to 
aggression into Italy (cf. p. 84), especially as the French language 
■ — like the Kingdom of Burgundy — had crept down the Little St. 
Bernard Pass as far as the great road-junction of Aosta (cf. p. 30), 
thus laying the foundation of a natural political bond between Savoy 
and Piedmont. 

The 200 miles between the Belgian and Swiss frontiers are the Lorraine 
vital part, and here both physical features and political or military Frontier, 
distributions are of profound significance. The racial differences 
are strongest approximately along the water-parting between rivers 
flowing into the North Sea and rivers flowing into the English 
Channel or the Mediterranean ; but the geographical features 
between the basins of Rhine and Seine offer no real barrier, 
scarcely even an obstacle, although Lorraine had been for ages 
before 1871 roughly divided between French-speaking and German- 
speaking people. And the difference of attitude on the part of the 
two nations towards the fundamental problems may be judged more 
fairly from deeds than from words. It is, therefore, of profound 
moment that the French side of the frontier is held on a system 
which is of real use only for defence, while the German system 
is one which is meaningless or ridiculous except for purposes of 

The French have fortified the whole line — at some distance Military 
from the actual frontier — which should guard them against any very Organisa- 
sudden surprise, but the scattered garrisons are obviously incapable ^°°' 
of making any concerted attack ; the Germans have concentrated 
an estimated 1,000,000 men at two foci — Metz, 30 miles south of 
the Belgian frontier, and Strassburg, half-way between Metz and the 
Swiss frontier. Each of these is a great railway-junction inside 
a huge ring of fortifications, capable of easily holding half a million 
men apiece, and with extraordinary facilities for transporting troops 
between the two foci. Strassburg itself is not very threatening, 
however valuable it was in olden days as a base for the French in 
crossing the Rhine ; and the nearness of Metz to Paris and the 
trivial obstacle of the Argonne are so obvious that surprise might 
have been thought impossible. But the cause of perennial unrest 
on this frontier is the fear of surprise through violation of neutral 
territory, Belgian and Swiss. And historians who remember the 
fate of Silesia or the events preceding the battle of Pima, may 
justifiably wonder what products known to Economic Geography 


The Continent of Europe 





could possibly be served by the " heavy " railways to Malmedy — 
a mile and a half from the Belgian frontier — and to Pfirt, not very 
much farther from the Swiss frontier (cf. pp. 273, 285). 

The relief of the country is fundamentally simple, the various 
natural regions being so grouped and related as to form a very 
complete, compact, and comprehensible unit. There is a highland 
core of old crust-block girdled almost continuously by lowland of 
'varying width ; and this is flanked southward by the young folded 
mountains of the Alps and the Pyrenees and northward by the 
old plateaus of Brittany and the Ardennes. Traffic round this core, 
therefore, must always have been physically easy, though it might 
be interrupted by political accidents, e.g. the possession of Guienne 
and Gascony by England ; and, if such foreign intrusion were 
maintained for any considerable time, it must have given special 
importance to the Paris basin, as the natural link between all the 
parts of the country that were not held by foreigners. On the 
other hand, once the foreign control was withdrawn, physical condi- 
tions would distinctly favour the obliteration of racial differences, 
e.g. between Iberian and Kelt or Kelt and Teuton ; and the 
supremacy already acquired by the central Paris basin would make 
it very difficult for outlying areas to combine against the centre, i.e. 
for provincial vassals to threaten their king. It was quite character- 
istic, however, that determined opposition to the central authority 
should come from the Counts of Toulouse, — individualists and 
"aliens" in politics and creed — and equally significant that its 
punishment in the vile Albigensian " Crusade " should mark a 
great step in the unification of France. 

The nucleus of the area is the peneplain of the Central Plateau, 
or Massif, a rugged block of old crystalline rock, flanked by younger 
sedimentary formations and broken towards the centre by recent 
volcanic action. This peneplain slopes down more or less gently — 
by way of the intermediate levels of Limousin and Marche — to the 
west and north-west from a height of nearly 5600 feet in the 
Cevennes, so that it drains naturally to the Garonne and the Loire ; 
and, as its upturned margins in the Cevennes, Lyonnais, and 
Beaujolais " mountains " form a steep riverless scarp to the Rhone 
valley, i.e. the funnel by which civilisation entered the country, it 
became — like the similarly unattractive and inaccessible recesses of 
Brittany and Savoy — a refuge for the conquered natives, with their 
typical round heads, short stature, and dark complexion. In each 
case, too, the unattractive and inaccessible area was likely to 
perpetuate social and religious individualism long after the unity 
and solidarity of the rest of the country had been firmly established. 

The volcanic action has left its traces in such hot springs as 
those of Vichy and Chaudes Aigues (" Hot Waters ") as well as 
in the typical puys of Auvergne ; and it is in these puys that we 




find the culminating peaks of the massif, those of Cantal (c. 6100 
feet) and Dore (c. 6200). To leeward of the main heights any 
depressed areas are likely to suffer from drought and dust ; and 
the great importance of the Limagne plain in early days was largely 
due to the intense fertility of the wind-borne volcanic dust. It is 
equally significant that the name of its capital, Clermont {Clarus 
Mons, " Clear Mountain ") should be taken from the neighbouring 
Puy de Dome — that the local cathedral, in which Peter the Hermit 
preached the first Crusading sermon, should be built of lava — and 
that the permanence of the local control should be illustrated by 


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Archaean ^^ Primary 

Structure of France. 

r old - 


such typical " agricultural " industries to-day as biscuit-baking and 
fruit-preserving. Even the wind-borne dust is still prominent — in 
causing mist and fog. 

The nearness to the Atlantic, the considerable height within Crystal- 
such a small area, and the details of relief, have combined to give the li^© 
massif special significance in the hydrography of France ; but, owing I^gj*'' 
to the local distribution of rainfall (over 70 inches in the highest 
and most exposed parts) and to differences of rock-formation, the 
fate of the northward rivers has been very different from that of 
the westward rivers. The impervious crystalline rock of the north- 
ward slope, with its quick "run-off" of rain and even of surface-soil, 
has developed more or less parallel streams flowing independently 

198 The Continent of Europe ch. 

of one another from areas of maximum rainfall, e.g. Loire and Allier, 
and separated by a marked ridge, e.g. the Forez mountains. The 
pace and volume of these rivers, and their heavy burden of silt, 
have — aided by the physical history of the area — enabled them to 
cut down their valleys in the areas of lighter rainfall — to leeward of. 
the summit — into almost canon form ; and population was attracted 
to these valleys in very early times owing to their value as trade- 
routes as well as owing to the fertility of their wind-borne soil. 
Roanne is a town as old as Clermont, and Le Puy has a name as 
Earst The westward rivers have also eroded canon valleys, especially 

Liine- the Tarn ; but the conditions of flow are quite different, for the 
^®' massif is flanked here by limestone which is not only porous, 
but even easily soluble. Here, then, we have typical *' Karst " 
phenomena. The originally continuous plateau has been carved 
— by rivers that rise close to the Loire and the Allier, e.g. the Lot 
and the Tarn — into a series of limestone promontories called 
Gausses {calx, "lime"). The surface of each block is a weird 
wilderness pitted with sink-holes, some of which reach a depth of 
700 feet, while below it is honeycombed with caves — rich in 
stalactites and even in the relics of early Cave-dwellers — and 
tunnelled by a network of rivers. In the course of about 30 miles 
the Tarn receives thirty subterranean tributaries and not one on 
the surface ; and sheep and mules are the typical products of the 
Aveyron valley, the Roquefort cheese being made of ewes' milk. 
Hydro- This old block, from its extreme northward extension in the 

graphic granite plateau of Morvan to its extreme southward extension in 
the Montague Noir, completely dominates the river-system of 
France, isolating the Saone- Rhone basin and feeding — generally 
with flood-water — the three other great basins. Except the Loire, 
all these basins are approximately of the same size {c. = Ireland) ; 
and, as the water-parting is well towards the east of the country, 
all of them except the Rhone have more or less equal exposure 
to wet winds off" the Atlantic. But the varying volume of the 
Loire and the rapids on the Garonne (" The Rough ") force traffic 
on to lateral canals — the Loire needing also to be protected by 
levees ; and, therefore, their adverse physique and regime have 
again increased the relative importance of the favourable physique 
and regime of the Seine (" The Tranquil "). 
Loire v. There is a further distinction between them. For the physical 

Garonne, relation of the Loire and the Garonne to the massif, and their 
climatic relation to the area of summer-drought in the south-east, 
cause them to draw the great proportion of their water-supply from 
the massif, i.e. their great tributaries are concentrated in the one 
case on the left bank and in the other case on the right bank ; 
and the valleys of these tributaries lead up into those areas of hard 




old rock which are so typically connected with populations in- 
dividualistic alike in creed and politics. And the Loire, though 
fed by several large tributaries from the Norman Heights, e.g. the 
Loir, the Sarthe, and the Mayenne, enters again near its mouth 
an area of old rock and individualistic population in Brittany and 
the Vendean Bocage. As the clay flats of the Sologne within the 
great bend at Orleans became naturally a vast expanse of forested 
marsh, traffic from the Paris basin was forced to keep to the right 

Stanford's CeogI ^stabf, London- 

Peripheral distribution of French towns. 

bank between Orleans and Tours, and special importance was given 
to the Gap of Poitou, as the only link between the two great Tertiary 
basins of Bordeaux and Paris. Poitiers and the Vienne have, 
therefore, strategical importance precisely similar to that of Aldershot 
and the Kennet between the Hampshire and London basins in 

The Seine and the Garonne basins have, as great Tertiary basins, Seine v. 
much in common ; and, except in regime, even the rivers show Gaxonne. 
curious similarity. In each case the basal channel, which controls 
the direction and outflow of the whole basin, is on the extreme left — 


The Continent of Europe 






the Aribge-Garonne and the Yonne-Seine ; and, as all the great 
tributaries enter from the right and across the general line of advance, 
their flood-water is particularly troublesome. Thus, it is the Marne 
that is most blamed — in Paris — for floods which are mainly due to 
the inflow from the Yonne on the one side and the banking-back of 
the whole current by the Links of Seine on the other side ; and it 
is in passing the Gausses that the right bank of the Garonne is pro- 
vided with a lateral canal — from Toulouse to Agen. 

A line drawn from Agen via Angouleme and Troyes to Sedan 
divides the whole country into two well-marked areas — the western 
being generally low and level, while the eastern is generally high 
and hilly. In each case there is an obvious exception, for the 
Rhone valley is, like the Breton highland, a separate unit ; but 
Brittany is too much isolated to affect the political unity of the 
western lowlands, while the lowness of the Cote-d'Or and Carcas- 
sonne Gaps — respectively looo and 625 feet — would have prevented 
the isolation of the Rhone valley even if it had not been the natural 
gateway of civilisation into France. 

The climate is essentially temperate, partly because of latitude 
arid general level, but chiefly because the position of the main water- 
parting gives free access to Atlantic winds almost everywhere ; and 
the one exception — in the lee of the eastern Pyrenees — would be 
essentially " Mediterranean " even if there were no physical obstacle 
in the shape of the Pyrenees. Even as it is, the average rainfall of 
Perpignan (23 inches) is as great as that of Paris. The climatic con- 
trasts of the country are, therefore, as in England, mainly due to 
differences of exposure, the north-west quadrant corresponding 
closely to our south-west quadrant, while the north-east quadrant 
corresponds to our south-east quadrant (cf. p. 230); rainfall varies 
mainly with height and Atlantic aspect, about two-thirds of the area 
having some rain at all seasons, while temperature varies mainly with 
height and latitude, the isotherm of 70° F. in July following the line 
from Agen via Angouleme to Troyes. 

From a comparison of the various influences, five types may be 
distinguished. The lofty central massif (i) has cold winters and 
hot summers, with a mean annual temperature of 52° F. and a 
maximum annual rainfall of over 5 feet, most of which falls in 
summer ; but, while under such circumstances the Millevache granite 
gives good pasture for cattle as well as sheep — the latter exceeding 
200 per square mile — the Gausses limestone can support only sheep. 
Brittany (2), with the same average temperature and rainfall — though 
most of the rain falls in winter — has a mild winter and a cool 
summer ; and, while the massif has discontinuous heavy rains, 
Brittany has frequent fine rains — of great value in dairy farming. 
The Bordeaux basin (3), with the same mild winter as Brittany, has 
a higher summer temperature, accompanied by a higher average 




temperature (nearly 54° F.) ; and the summer temperature would be 
still higher but for the regular cool N.W. winds (cf. p. 56). The fact 
that these winds owe much of their value to their coming from a high- 
pressure centre, accounts for the relatively low ^ rainfall (28 inches). 
The greatest extremes of mean temperature are between the Paris 

Stajifords Ceog! Estab^, London, 

Annual rainfall of France and Spain. 

basin and the summer-drought basin, the mean of the former being 
only 50° F., while that of Languedoc and Provence is above 57° F. ; 
but in each case there is a marked modification with distance from 
sea and ocean. The Paris basin proper (4), with a rainfall slightly 
less than that of the London basin, has a slightly colder winter and 
slightly hotter summer ; and the extremes increase up to the Vosges 
foothills, where the winter mean is only 48° F., while the summer is 
* The Pjrrenees rainfall behind Biarritz, however, sometimes exceeds 70 inches. 


The Continent of Europe 


Rain aud temperature lines. 

hot enough to be distinctly rainy. The purely Mediterranean area 
(5) is so much exposed to Atlantic influences that its typical Medi- 
terranean winter is made exception- 
ally mild ; but, with movement north- 
ward into the lee of the massif, there 
is a marked change — up to the Vosges 
foothills. Indeed, the mean temper- 
ature of the Saone basin is only 
52° F. ; the winters are still wet — 
because all regular winds have to 
follow the narrow valley northward 
or southward — but they are also cold, 
because easterly winds work through 
the Burgundy Gate ; and the same conditions reversed account for 
the heat of the summer. 
Physique When the chief physical features of the country, with their 

V. Climate, variety of relief and of structural character, are related to this variety 
of climatic types, we seem to have almost an epitome of each of the 
great areas of Europe which have been associated with marked indi- 
viduality of human type — Nordic, Alpine, and Mediterranean. But 
the fertile Nordic plain works southward right up to the young Alpine 
folds, while the barren plateau belt works northward right up to the 
Narrow Seas, leaving valley gaps between itself and the Alpine up- 
lift. Movement into the area being normally dependent on ease of 
access and such attractions as obvious fertility, and success in intru- 
sion being reasonably limited to vigorous peoples, fair, long-headed 
foresters from the Nordic plain flooded the fertile lowlands from 
Belgium to Bordeaux, and dark, long-headed fruit-growers from the 
Mediterranean coast occupied the "summer-drought" portion of the 
fertile Rhone valley, while the Alpine Roundheads were isolated in 
areas that were specifically unattractive — to primitive man — and 
inaccessible or easily defensible. 

Savoy can claim to be all three. The massif, if more favoured 
with fertile patches, is equally defensible and inaccessible, especi- 
ally from the south-east, i.e. the point nearest to the long-headed 
intruders. Brittany, in actual physique less defensible and more 
accessible, if not also more attractive, was so much more remote 
that intruders never penetrated it until they came by sea ; on the 
landward side it was, like its rock, quite impervious — even to the 
insinuating French tongue, and to this day " Cornish " is spoken 
in Cornouaille. When isolated under these adverse conditions, 
the stocky-framed Alpine peoples often degenerated, especially in 
the somatic quality most dependent on food-supply, i.e. stature ; for 
these " islands of (agricultural) misery " exercised a control similar 
to that exercised by real islands in dwarfing fauna, and their typical 
peoples now are notorious for shortness of stature and badness of 


XV France 203 

teeth. Where very different conditions are found in close proximity 
— as where the granitic Morvan plateau overhangs the rich Tertiary 
soil of Burgundy, or where the granitic rock of the upper valley 
of the Aveyron merges in the limestone plain of the lower valley 
— the contrasts are still most glaring; and, again, the 666-foot 
contour is significant (cf. p. 45). The plains certainly got the fertile 
rock-sweepings from the hills, and possibly the hills got the feebler 
human-sweepings from the plains.^ 

On these plains, then, we should expect to find the most Roman 
important of the old provinces and great fiefs of France; but all Settle- 
subsequent subdivision was somewhat coloured by the original 
Roman settlement, with its conscious emphasis on strategic points 
and its unconscious response to climatic control. For the Roman 
hold on the country was essentially based on a thorough occupation 
of the area of summer-drought, with the climatic phenomena of 
which they were entirely familiar. This took them at least as far 
north as Vienne, the old capital of the Allobroges, and at least as 
far west as Toulouse, afterwards the capital of the Visigoths. In 
each case command of a climatic divide, with its supplementary 
products on opposite sides, made the site naturally a commercial 
and political centre, so that for some time — while " Gaul " included 
both Britain and Spain — Vienne was made the capital of "all 
Gaul." This limited area, as Gallia Narbonensis, roughly marked 
out Provence (the first Pro-vincia, "Advanced Conquest") and 
Languedoc, the one roughly east and the other west of the Rhone. 

It was characteristic that the Romans reached the area, not by Romans 
sea like the Phoenicians and the Greeks, but by land via Augusta a^^ \j»3i&. 
Taurinorum (Turin) and Tarraco (Tarragona). By the Durance PP™*<^ • 
valley they " arrived at " the rocky headland of Avignon {Advenio, 
" I arrive ") on the " Roman " bank of the Rhone, thus giving that 
place a connection with Rome which was significantly revived by the 
Popes in the fourteenth century ; round the Pyrenees they arrived at 
Narbo Martius on the " Roman " side of the Aude. In the advance 
from each centre important posts were kept inside the best possible 
river-front, as Valence between Rhone and Isere and Carcassonne 
in the great bend of the Aude ; and, as the Spanish connection was 
at first much more important than the Italian, the first colony was 
established at Narbonne — a fine strategic site, protected by lagoon 
and sea and river on every side except the west — and the place was 
made the capital of Mediterranean Gaul, with highroads to Toulouse 
and Avignon. With the political separation of France from Spain, 
and the political union of " Atlantic " France and " Mediterranean " 
France, Narbonne, like Orange and Vienne, lost its importance ; 
Avignon and Valance, though still commanding Alpine routes, could 

^ Dr. Newbigin gives an admirable illustration of this from the Limousin district 
in Afan and his Conquest of Nature. 


The Continent of Europe 







not compete landward with Lyons or seaward with Marseilles ; and 
the Gard-valley route on to the massif made Nimes more important 
than the old " Gallic " capital of Aries at the head of the Rhone 

Gallia Lugdunensis, as its name implies, pivoted on Lyons, but 
included also all the land between the Seine and the Loire ; and 
the relatively narrow " neck " of the province was held from three 
stations — Lyons, Autun, and Sens. Lyons, on its river-girt penin- 
sula, in the centre of the great north-and-south route of the Saone- 
Rhone depression, had good connection with Rome by the Upper 
Rhone, and commanded the best short route up into the Loire 
valley (just north-west of St. Etienne). Augustodunum held the 
Cote-d'Or Gap between rivers draining to the Atlantic and the 
Mediterranean, occupying a river- girt hill on a tributary of the 
Loire ; and the choice of the site- — to the exclusion of the old 
capital of the Aedui at Chalons on the elbow of the Saone — like 
the building of a temple on it to "Janus of the Two-Faces," was 
entirely justified. The amount of traffic through the gap may be 
gauged by the corruption that the original name has suffered, or by 
the survival to this day of such a significant industry as the making 
of horse-cloths. The capital of the Senones had only temporary 
importance ; for the confluence of the Vanne with the Yonne, where 
the latter leaves the plateau, was bound to yield place to other con- 
fluences farther down the Seine, as the North Sea and the English 
Channel became more important than the Alpine passes and the 

With the " neck " of the province thus held, the two great rivers 
were made the key to the rest, and at first the Loire was thought 
the more important. Two sites were of paramount importance, the 
political capital of the Turones and the strategic point at which the 
broad,^ shoaly, rapid Loire swerved nearest to the Seine. The latter 
was well protected by the forested Sologne marsh on the south and 
by the marshy ** Fontainebleau " forest on the east, while it was 
within easy reach of the rich grain-lands of Beauce. Tours, on the 
Cher-Loire peninsula, was in an equally defensible site and in an 
equally fertile area ; but its essential value — from the days of Martel 
onwards — was as the key to the Poitou Gap. The poor navigation 
on the Loire, the relative decline of agriculture, the practical absence 
of coal, and external causes such as the centralisation of the circular 
lowlands on Paris and the opening of the Suez Canal, have all 
combined to decrease the relative importance of the Middle Loire 
valley. But it was to Tours that the seat of Government was 
moved from Paris in 1871. 

On the Seine, as on the Loire, only two centres seem to have 
been very important, the old capital of the Parisii and Rotomagus 
^ The bridge at Orleans ("Aurelian's Camp") has nine arches. 

XV France 205 

(Rouen). The development of the latter has depended largely on 
"modern" advantages, e.g. (i) the fact that the great north-east 
bend — which attracted the attention of the Romans through being 
at once the most pronounced feature on the river and at a safe 
distance from the sea — put it into close relations with Dieppe; (2) 
objection to — or original impossibility of — bridging the river any 
farther north ; (3) the suitability of the site and the climate for the 
import and the working of textile fibres. The position of Paris, 
on the contrary, has always been one of supreme importance. 
About half-way in the course of the Seine across its fertile basin, at 
its confluence with its chief tributary, the Marne, islands in the 
river were first a refuge and then a means of bridging the river. 
Forested marsh and " Barbarians " on the northern bank caused 
the first expansion to be on to the southern " Roman " bank, thus 
giving " Versailles " its initial relation to Orleans and Blois ; no 
place farther south could rival it, because the critical point is 
obviously where the three great waterways — Yonne and Seine and 
Marne — unite ; no place farther north could rival it, because there 
were fatal strategic objections to being involved amongst the 
intricate " Links of Seine," where one bank or one part of a 
"link" is always commanding or being commanded by another. 
The network of waterways led to a network of roads, and the 
latter to a network of railways, until Paris became " a river, road, 
and railway star " ; and these conditions reacted on one another 
until, five years ago, Paris could claim a larger trade as a port 
than any seaboard harbour, and ranked next to Marseilles and Le 
Havre even for foreign commerce. 

Belgica and Aquitania were simply the flanks of the other two Belgica. 
provinces, but were organised on the same principles. In Belgica, 
which was practically all the land between the Jura Mountains and 
the Dover Strait, the two foci were at opposite ends — Visontio 
(Besangon) and the old capital of the Remi. The river-girt rock 
in the loop of the Doubs was, in those days, unquestionably the 
" Gate-post," though modern artillery and political control have 
deprived it of its old importance, — its military role having been 
moved outwards to Belfort, while its political role has been moved 
inwards to Dijon, which faces the Burgundy Gate, but is in the 
rear of the Saone and has its back against the Cote d'Or, and so 
commands all the best passes to Yonne and Seine, to Marne and 
Meuse. The adoption of Reims as the other focus, no doubt, had 
the advantage — seldom ignored by the Romans — of keeping up 
old associations in the minds of conquered people, as at Paris and 
Tours ; but it was justified otherwise, though the justification was 
not obvious at first. For the town stands between the Champagne 
clays and the Argonne chalk, i.e. between wine and wool, and 
between Aisne and Marne, i.e. between the latitudes of Sedan and 

2o6 The Continent of Europe ch. 

Metz ; and, from the time when the Holy Roman Empire fronted 
directly on to the Meuse and the Saone, Reims challenged the foe 
from a safe proximity to the frontier, much as Scone challenged the 
Highland frontier beyond Dunkeld. 

Aquitania. Aquitania, which was all the rest of the Gallic area, stood four- 
square — the Pictones dwelling round the rocky hill of Poitiers, one 
branch of the Biturges round the modern Bourges, another branch 
round Burdigala (Bordeaux), and the Arverni on the plateau ; and 
the real foci were the lowland Bordeaux and the highland 
Augustonemetum (Clermont), the home of Vercingetorix. The 
AUier valley is still the best natural route across the Auvergne 
plateau, though the presence of coal and iron has made the Loire 
valley more important economically ; and Bordeaux is still much 
the most important place on the lowland. Without a rival along 
miles of dune-fringed coast, protected by Landes and lagoons 
seaward and by the river landward, the effective meeting-place of 
five great river- valleys, and at the lowest point on the largest river 
at which it could be bridged, the city had every opportunity of 
monopolising the commerce of the whole basin, and of specialising 
in shipping the products of the mild Medoc peninsula to the Severn 
ports of England. In modern times it has come to control 
typical South American imports, such as rubber. 

Brittany. Seaward of i" W. and 47" N. there is a land of ancient rock 

and even rainfall which enable the Bretons to raise, especially on 
the more fertile northern coast-lands, market - garden and dairy 
products that are much in demand in the neighbouring English 
market, especially early cauliflowers and potatoes from Cherbourg 
and Sl Malo. The old rock extends into Anjou and Maine, 
where it is worked at Angers and other places in the Mayenne 
basin for such a typically Cambrian product as slate ; but the 
area is specifically Breton — in history, politics, and creed. Storms 
and strong tides, fog-haunted islands and crumbling coasts — worked 
for such a typically Cornish product as china-clay, e.g. at Quimper 
— have isolated it seaward except to mtruders of the Viking type ; 
impervious rock, heavy rains, and salt winds have encouraged 
bogs inland and discouraged forest on the exposed parts, while 
remoteness from Paris has emphasised the isolation due also to 
unattractiveness. Internally, parallel belts of rugged upland and 
water-logged lowland divide it up into such isolated strips that 
even now three or four dialects can be distinguished. Along each 
coast facilities for fishing ^ and for access inland raised little towns 
such as Quimper and Vannes, Morlaix and St. Brieuc ; but — 
except for the recent rise of Foug^res as a great shoemaking 
centre, using mainly English leather — the only inland centre of any 

^ Hemp-growing and making of ropes and sails are typical of Morbihan, but 
Lorient is too typically a naval station to progress commercially. 

XV France 207 

importance is Rennes, where the relatively modern east-and-west 
route between the Noire and d'Arree heights crosses the old north- 
and-south route of the Vilaine valley between Redon and Dinan, 
the Vilaine being navigable for the whole distance over which its 
valley forms the route, i.e. for the 90 miles from its sudden south- 
ward bend at Rennes. The town has a typical " confluence " site ; 
it is built of granite, and is a very important butter market — for 
London via St. Malo. 

'l"he less fertile archean rock of southern Brittany extends Vendue. 
southward into Vendee, where it rises in the forested terraces of 
the Socage (" The Woodland ") to the Gatine Hills, and sinks 
seaward beneath the " Breton " salt marshes — now largely drained 
and reclaimed. Protected by the scarp of the Gatine and by the 
marshes, amid a labyrinth of heaths and woods, the Vendeans 
had every opportunity of developing the political and religious 
individualism appropriate to — perhaps a product of — this hard and 
rugged rock, of resisting invasion by land or sea, and of affording 
an unbreakable line of communication between Nantes and La 
Rochelle. In modern times, owing to the existence of a small 
coal-field on the edge of the old rock, industries have been 
developed in La Roche, as under similar circumstances at Laval 
and Segre ; but the chief industrial centre is Nantes. 

The group of islands in the river, which have caused the Nantes, 
transfer of so much commerce to the outport of St. Nazaire because 
they break the scouring power of the Loire, had an admirable 
strategic and commercial position in days of small vessels ; and the 
oceanic influence is so strong climatically that the town is a very 
busy textile centre. Standing between the coast and the archean 
rock, it has also a typical industry in the tinning of iron-plate and 
the making of tin boxes — both for sardines (" Le Croisic") and for 
the preserving of vegetables ; but the most important industry is 
the smelting and working of iron, e.g. at Nantes and St. Nazaire 
(ships). Coal is easily imported, and there is a small coal-field and 
a considerable iron-field north-east of Nantes, the iron extending as 
far north as Redon and as far east as Angers. 

Eastward and southward from the edge of the old rock, right up Wheat 
to the foot of the Ardennes and the Vosges, of the massif and and Wine 
the Pyrenees, stretch the great wheat and wine lands of France. *'*'^°^- 
Throughout the area the presence of early-summer rains and late- 
summer heat on the lowlands is favourable alike to the quantity 
and the quality of the wheat, though the proportion of gluten — like 
the capacity for effervescence in the grape — seems to have some 
obscure connection with low, winter temperatures, and therefore 
increases towards the north-east ; and the warm, dry slopes that 
flank the lowlands, form ideal sites for raising " wine," varying in 
character from the claret of the marine climate to the champagne of 


The Continent of Europe 


the continental. The dividing line is found in the " waist " of 
limestone and chalk lowland — pinched in between the granitic 
heights of Vendee and Marche — which gave wealth and military 
importance to the Counts of Poitou. To the north the sparkling 
wines of Saumur are inferior — except in rare years — because the 
marine influence is too much felt just before vintage, while to the 
south the juice of the Cognac grape is unrivalled on the face of the 

Charente. No doubt the care and skill of the Charente people have been 

developed by generations of experience ; but equal care and skill, 
on similar soil with similar vines elsewhere, do not yield the same 
result. For, though the rainfall is not heavy, the Atlantic influence 
so " filters " the sun's rays that the carbides of hydrogen are not 
oxidised, and the grape juice is matured in perfection — neither 
vinegary nor resinous. It is due to the organic ethers thus pre- 
served that real brandy is " a Water of Life " in emergencies. The 
development of the industry was, no doubt, much aided by the 
river itself, which is navigable up to Angouleme, and which — by the 
relation of its upper course to the upper course of the Vienne — 
made Angouleme, on its river-girt height, important as a military 
post and Rochefort as a naval port. It was the clearness of the 
Charente stream and easy access to the decomposed granites of 
Limousin that gave Angouleme its fine-paper industry ; and it was 
the partial monopoly of Rochefort for naval purposes that led to 
the development of Tonnay, farther up the river, as a brandy- 
shipping port. The old strategic value of the marsh-girt hill at 
Rochefort has, however, been discounted by the winding channel 
and shifting bar of the Charente estuary ; and, on the other hand, 
the deepening of the La Pallice harbour must direct old-established 
currents of trade to Rochelle both from Bordeaux — where the 
difficulty of river-navigation causes delay, and from St. Nazaire — 
where delay is caused by frequent fogs. 

Aquitaine. All Poitou was within the frontiers of Aquitaine, but the typical 
part of Aquitaine was the great Tertiary basin of Guienne and 
Gascony. This suggests at once a division into a rich agricultural 
belt in the north and a poor pastoral belt in the south, the one 
ending seaward in the Medoc peninsula and landward in the 
tobacco-fields that stretch from Perigueux (famous for its patds and 
its truffles) to Montauban, and including the prune orchards of 
Agen and Cahors (also famous for truffles), while the other ends 
seaward in the Landes and landward in the valley of Toulouse, 
famous for its draught-oxen. But the old poverty and the debatable 
position between France and Spain which made the "Gascon," 
like his Beam kinsmen, an adventurer, are alike things of the past. 
About four-fifths of the total area of dunes (250,000 acres) has been 
made productive, and now forms the largest continuous forest in 




France. Inside the natural dunes is a wall of artificial dunes, planted 
with sand-binding grass ; and then to leeward of the double fence 
the maritime pine flourishes, forming an absolute protection to 
the interior, e.g. the Graves vineyards — though the growth of the 
trees on the windward side is rather stunted — and yielding a 
fine supply of turpentine and timber {e.g. pit-props and telegraph- 
poles). The great fan of calcareous clay from the Pyrenees, which 
once favoured an independent Armagnac, is now famous for its 
" brandy " ; and tourists have brought prosperity to Bayonne and 
Dax, Tarbes and Pau. The generic name for all the torrents that 
built up the fan is Gave; but the one on which Lourdes and Pau 
stand is known specially as The Gave. Toulouse, as the landward 

focus of Aquitaine, held the 

r^-" I .- -.'•^^- " ^ ^ '^ I [ -s, 'S^ ^ balance between Gascony and 

fer ' I I i _ . j — [ Quienne, and became a great 
wheat and wine (and tobacco) 
market ; and its position be- 
tween the Albi and Rodez 
coal-fields and the iron and 
manganese of the Pyrenees 
is reflected in its foundries 
and metal industries. Its 
position on the left bank of 
the river gave it originally the 
protection of the marsh which 
accumulated within the con- 
cave curve. 

The wheat and tobacco of 

Distribution of the vine. 


the upper basin of the Garonne ^^^^^ ' 
give place to wine and maize 

in the lower basin, the area supplying a large proportion of the 
wine — only 2 or 3 per cent of the whole — which can be classed 
above vin ordinaire. Soil and situation are of prime importance, 
the Garonne wines being better than the Dordogne wines. The 
Medoc is slightly more marine in climate than Graves and Sauternes ; 
and the Haut-Medoc clarets are grown on the slopes of Margaux, 
Lafite, Latour, etc., while the Graves wines are grown on the flat 
sandy lands (" Landes "), and Sauternes are grown landward of the 
Graves. These southern vineyards are equally famous for red 
wines and white, and the best of each, e.g. Haut-Brion and Yquem, 
are equal to the " first growths " of the north ; but the latter are all 
red. The Dordogne wines, e.g. St. Emilion, are *' hill " wines of 
cheaper varieties ; and for 1,000,000 gallons of "classified" there 
are 4,000,000 of "bourgeois" and 100,000,000 oi vin ordinaire. 

Like the Tertiary basin of Bordeaux, that of Paris is flanked — 
though much more continuously — by rings of chalk and limestone, 


2IO The Continent of Europe ch. 

"The both covering a much larger area in the basin of the Seine than in 
Garden of that of the Loire. But between the two great northward bends of 
'^*°*^* the Loire, near Orleans and Angers — shut in by the dry limestone hills 
of Maine and Berry — the Cretaceous and Tertiary elements are so 
well mixed, and have been so much enriched for centuries by river- 
floods, that the area has come to be called " the Garden of France." 
To leeward of the ancient rock, which reaches in the forested 
Monts des Avaloirs of north-west Maine the highest point in all 
north-western France {c. 1400 feet), as to leeward of similar rock 
in Cornwall and Wales, the " garden " begins as a fruit-garden, the 
valley of the Mayenne being famous for its apples and its cider. 
The corresponding valley of the Indre in Berry is almost as famous 
for its chestnuts. In each basin, below the hard ancient rock, there 
are bare limestone hills, which make admirable sheep-pastures ; 
indeed, parts of Berry carry 200 sheep to the acre, and Chateauroux 
has an old, but still busy, cloth industry. All the rest of the area 
in question is very fertile, especially in the " Champagne " between 
the Cher and the Indre, and it formed the great bread and wine 
land of Medieval France. As it also gave one of the most 
important lines of movement, and as the most important part of the 
route — between Orleans and Tours — was exceedingly picturesque, 
e.g. the riverside cliffs between Blois and Tours, it came under 
close settlement in very early times, though large patches of forest 
still survive. It seems mainly due to these conditions that it is so 
markedly "old-fashioned" in many ways, e.g. in its typical "old" 
textiles (linen and wool) — linen specially at Le Mans and woollen 
at Chateauroux — and in the survival of antiquated methods of 
farming, so that the yield of the various crops is relatively low. 
Anjou. The survival of these industries in modern times has been 

helped by the distribution of patches of coal near the edge of the 
old rock, e.g. between Angers and Cholet and near La Fleche. Le 
Mans — with a typical bell-foundry industry, dependent originally on 
the tin and copper of the old rock — has more importance than La 
Fleche only because, as the head of navigation on the Sarthe, it was 
the capital of the old province of Maine ; Angers makes linen and 
woollen fabrics like the challies which take their name from Cholet, 
but is better known for its slate-quarries and market-gardens. Its 
economic development was, however, retarded by its political and 
strategic importance as the capital of the Counts of Anjou — which 
exposed it to serious danger from invasion up the Loir, as well 
as in later times from Huguenots and Vend^ans. So far as one 
may press a connection between the hard old rock and militant 
individualism in creed or politics, it would be significant that Angers 
is within reach of slate-quarries and that a typical industry at 
Saumur, as at Nantes, is the making of tin-plate. Saumur — an 
island town at the confluence of the Thonet with the Loire — had 

XV France 2ii 

been an isle of refuge for centuries before it became the metropolis 
of French Protestantism ; indeed, its name is probably a corruption 
of Salvus MuruSf and the sides of both river-valleys are honey- 
combed with caves. 

The Seine portion of this " Paris " basin may itself be divided Seine 
into two areas by the line north of which climatic or economic Basin, 
reasons make the cultivation of the vine unprofitable. This line is 
marked very clearly by the water-parting between sea-ward and 
Seine-ward streams, e.g. between Somme and Oise ; and south of it 
there is the same succession of Tertiary basin, chalk scarp, and 
limestone scarp, from west to east of the Seine basin, as there is 
from east to west of the Thames basin, making it naturally an area 
of wheat and wine, pasture and stone-quarries — the freestone being 
specially important just north of Paris itself and just south of 
Fontainebleau (cf. the " Bath " stone of Caen and Bayeux). The 
chalk downs are naturally as favourable to sheep ^ as the heavy 
" bottoms " are to cattle, and the ovine population is very large ; 
but the distribution of both sheep and cattle is practically determined 
by economic considerations, e.g. the demand for milk and mutton in 
the densely peopled " Isle of France." Both are, therefore, largely 
stall-fed, and so the mass of the sheep are found, not where the 
pasture is really most favourable, but where there are most agri- 
cultural bye-products {e.g. trefoil, lucerne, etc.), i.e. in the famous 
wheat -lands of Beauce and Brie. The best cattle area in the 
heavier rainfall is to windward of the sheep — in Perche. 

As in the Thames basin, the steep scarp of the chalk uplands "Cham- 
faces away from the centre of the basin ; and this has important papie " 
results, strategic and economic. Those near Paris, like somewhat 
similar positions near London, offer special facilities for defending 
the metropolitan area from attack from the continental side ; those 
farther away, especially in Champagne, supply the two great require- 
ments of the vine in the northern hemisphere: (i) a slope of 30° 
to 45° between the actual terraces on which the vines are mostly 
planted, and (2) a south-eastern aspect, so as to catch the maximum 
of sunshine in the late autumn. Laon — itself on a hmestone hill 
— and Soissons (Augusta Suessionum), Reims and Epernay, control 
gaps in the inner chalk ring, the Aisne gap being the most important, 
while Sedan and Verdun, Chalons (sur-Marne) and Troyes control 
gaps in the limestone ring, the Seine gap giving an important 
commercial connection via the Langres plateau with Dijon, while 
the Marne gap leads to the "Toul Gate" of Lorraine. Here, as 
beyond the Cotswolds, we have an industrial area — specialising in 
hardware to the north, where Longwy and Briey have rich deposits 
of iron, and in textiles to the south, where Epinal and St. Die have 

^ These are of " English" breeds in the north of France, and of merino type in 
the south. 


The Continent of Europe 



Canal v. 

water-power from the forested Vosges. Between the two areas, 
which are linked together naturally by the navigable Moselle, Nancy 
has the additional advantage of rich beds of rock-salt, and has 
developed very important industries, in iron and textiles, chemicals 
and glass (cf. the Dombasle chemicals and Baccarat plate-glass). 

The industrial development in this district has been very 
marked in recent years, partly in connection with better use of 
water-power, but mainly in connection with the mining and smelting 
of iron, the output of Meurthe-et-Moselle in 191 1 being two-thirds of 
the total for France ; and the latter involves some difficult problems. 
For the only ore used till lately was of a silicious type found on the 
Luxemburg frontier, e.g. at Longwy and Villerupt, or round Nancy 
itself; and, as a matter of fact, the geological expert who reported 
on the proposed frontier-line before the Treaty of Frankfurt, included 
" the totality of the ferruginous basin " in German Lorraine. But 
recently quantities of more calcareous ore have been found in the 
marshy area round Briey and Hornecourt, i.e. immediately in front 
of Metz. Like the rest of the Lorraine ore, it is rather " rich " in 
phosphorus ; but it is also rich in metal (40 p.c), and the amount 
of lime (up to 16 p.c.) makes it easy to work and to fuse. The two 
great difficulties are fuel and transport. Neither France nor Belgium 
can spare any coal, and the supply from the German mines in the Saar 
basin is very precarious, both for purely political reasons and because 
of the control of the German Colliery Syndicate by the German 
Metallurgical Syndicate. For strategical reasons, too, the means of 
communication on the French line of approach to Metz are naturally 
limited. These are the conditions underlying the regular exchange 
of fuel and metal between the Tyne ports and French Lorraine. 

Obviously, canals have not the strategic disadvantages of 
railways ; and this consideration underlies the relative importance 
of the two in north-eastern France, and must be kept in mind 
in comparing relative cost of transport. The State maintains all the 
waterways free of toll, but admits that the total net cost of water 
transport is higher than that of rail transport. At the same time, 
encouraged by relief and rainfall, it has spent infinitely more on 
canals in the two great centres in the north and north-east than on 
any others ; and the result may be seen in the percentage of *' first- 
class" navigation on the rivers. Comparison of total length of 
navigation with total length of " first-class " depth (6| feet) shows : — 

Northern : 

Lys, 45 out of 45 miles 

Scarpa, 41 ,, 41 ,, 

Scheldt, 39 „ 39 M 

Aa, 18 „ 18 „ 

Western : 


35 out of 452 miles 
31 » 91 ,. 

North-Eastern : 

Saone, 234 out of 234 miles 
Marne, 114 ,, 114 ,, 
Aisne, 37 „ 37 „ 

South-Western : 

Garonne, 96 out of 289 miles 
Dordogne, 26 ,, 167 ,, 
Adour, 21 ,, 72 ,, 
Charente, 16 ,, 108 ,, 

XV France 213 

It is not possible, however, to press the figures — for two reasons. 
On the one hand, France is so largely self-supporting that her 
internal trade cannot fairly be compared either with her external 
trade or with the internal trade of a country like our own ; and, on 
the other hand, relief and structure account for some of the glaring 
contrasts. For instance, precipitation on the central massif is 
" held up " for weeks in winter as snow and ice, and does not escape 
to the Loire until it receives the warmth that is brought by rain- 
bearing winds, so that the river practically gets two floods at once. 
Contrariwise, in months of maximum plant-energy and maximum 
evaporation, the fissured limestone above Orleans "masks" a flood 
altogether ; and in August the river is sometimes a series of practic- 
ally stagnant and actually discontinuous pools. 

The Channel lands, eastward of the old rock, while having Channel 
marked unity of climate, may be roughly divided into an eastern ^s^ds- 
area of agriculture and industries and a western area of pasture and 
commerce ; but there are obvious exceptions — economic and 
otherwise, and they are increasing. For instance, Normandy is as 
famous for its apples and cider as for its cattle and horses, its butter 
and " Camembert " cheese ; Bayeux and Alengon have been famous 
for lace for centuries, while recently the Orne basin has been one of 
the chief French sources of iron-ore. On the other hand, the 
amount of waste-products in the east, e.g. from beet-sugar and oil- 
crushing works, has enabled the demand for milk for the dense 
population to be supplied by stall-fed cattle; and the commercial 
centres on the Seine, e.g. Rouen and Elbeuf, have had every 
opportunity for maintaining — in a climate favourable to all textile 
work — old woollen industries (cf. Lisieux and Falaise) or developing 
new cotton industries (cf. Louviers and Evreux), both based on 
easy import of coal and raw materials. Similar, but slightly 
inferior, facilities on the Somme have made Amiens also an 
important textile centre, its modern development being based on its 
old wool industry — the principle of " pile "-weaving (for carpets) 
being applied to both silk (velvets) and cotton (fustians, i.e. 
corduroy) ; but the city has always had political importance, 
commanding the great bend on the Somme half-way between Paris 
and Calais. It was this, added to its safety — protected on islands 
in the river and by the surrounding peat-bogs — that made it a 
suitable capital for Picardy, as it was the inferiority of the Somme 
that prevented it being superseded by Abbeville seaward or by any 
town landward. 

Rouen was in a very different position. No doubt the island- Rouen. 
centred site in its amphitheatre of hills, 70 miles from the mouth of 
the river, made it a place of great importance by sea and land in 
early days ; but the deepening of the Seine up to Paris and the 
deep draught of modern vessels have ruined it as a harbour, though 


The Continent of Europe 


it must always — apparently — be the seaward focus of the great 
railway and canal systems of the whole Paris basin, and therefore 
attracts such a stream of colliers that it returns a very heavy 
tonnage for vessels entering the port. 
Le Havre. The Lower-Seine Department is a sort of neutral ground, with 
the arable land of the Caux and the pastures of Bray, the 
industries of Rouen and the commerce of Le Havre, " the Harbour " 
of the whole Seine basin. But even here modern development has 
depended on the river, because the river means Paris. Purely 
seaside places such as St. Valery and Dieppe may have packet- 




The width of the lines indicates their relative importance. 

of Paris. 

stations and export flints,^ but their prosperity comes from being 
— like Trouville — bathing-resorts for Paris. As nearness to the 
ocean became important, Harfleur was bound to give place to Le 
Havre ; and the value of the trade from the coal-field — in this only 
reflecting the overwhelming superiority of the right-bank over the 
!eft-bank tributaries of the Seine — was so enormously greater than 
that from the west that Harfleur had no chance from landward, nor 
had it the same chance as Havre seaward for " anticipating " trade 
on its way to Antwerp and other ports farther east. 

But everything was controlled by Paris. Mr. Mackinder has 
pointed out how the influence of Paris effectually prevented the rise 
of any other really large city in the basin, but directly encouraged 
* About 350,000 tons were exported from Caen in 191 1. 

XV France 215 

the growth of good - sized towns at '* equal " distances in all 
directions, e.g. Havre and Rouen, Amiens and Reims, Troyes and 
Orleans. Nothing is more typical of the modern aspect of this than 
the importance of Paris as a railway-junction, on the one hand, and, 
on the other hand, the concentration of the cotton industry on the 
Lower Seine. In early days, no doubt, the variety of minor natural 
regions, e.g. the chalk hills of Artois or the fluvial basin of Picardy, 
favoured the existence of several small political units ; but the 
variety of relief over the whole area is too small, and the unity of 
climatic control is too marked, to have allowed these units to 
survive. In such a geographic environment, Roman ideas of 
centralisation could only flourish profoundly, and so exaggerate the 
natural tendency of it, as focused at Paris. The history even of 
small towns, such as the Beauce grain-market of Chartres and 
Fontainebleau on its famous " glass "-sands (worked also at Nemours), 
yields convincing evidence of the overwhelming influence of Paris ; 
and, farther afield still, Crecy and Agincourt flank essentially " the 
Paris road," while the whole i8 miles of navigation on the little Aa 
from St. Omer to the sea below Gravelines has been made " first- 

The damp climate of the eastern Channel lands, with its even LUie Coal- 
rainfall, is more favourable to roots and " grasses " than to fruit and field. 
grain, though the hardier cereals* flourish ; mangolds and potatoes, 
flax and colza, are largely grown, but sugar-beet is the great product. 
This is partly because of the large demand for sugar in the more 
" Teutonic " parts of France, but mainly because of the relation of 
the coal-field to the treatment of the roots whether for sugar or for 
alcohol ; and it is important that the waste-product guarantees the 
milk-supply of the area, and that the large number of dairy cattle 
guarantees abundance of manure for the beet-fields. The coal-field 
lies partly in the Pas de Calais, north of Arras, e.g. at Lens and 
Li^vin, Bethune and Brouay, and partly in the Nord, especially 
north-west of Valenciennes and south-east of Douai, e.g. at Anzin 
and Aniche. Sugar-beet is largely grown in both departments, but 
still more largely where land is slightly less valuable — in the 
department of the Aisne. 

The textile industries are based on a favourable climate, Textile 
abundance of coal, hereditary skill that is as typical of French Indus- 
Flanders as of Belgian Flanders, and excellence of local raw '"®°- 
materials (wool and flax), though the mass is now imported, e.g. 
both wool and linseed coming from the Argentine. There is 
great division of labour, e.g. Calais and Arras, like Douai and 
Valenciennes, specialising in lace, — Cambrai and St. Quentin in 
table-linen, — Fourmies and Croix, Roubaix and Tourcoing, in 
woollens. Lille is the great centre, with a population of well over 
200,000 and with all the typical industries, especially cotton 

2i6 The Continent of Europe CH. 

(cf. St, Quentin) and linen (cf. Armentieres), and metallurgical 
(cf. Vimen) and chemical (cf. Chauny) ; and Dunkirk — about 50 
miles from Lille — is the great outlet, being now only below 
Marseilles and Havre amongst the real seaports of France, with a 
harbour able to accommodate ships up to 20,000 tons (cf. p. 205). 
Burgundy. Once over the Langres plateau — by one of the limestone 
valleys, e.g. via Chaumont and Langres or Auxerre and Avalon — 
the Cote d'Or scarp has the south-eastern exposure so favourable 
to the vine ; and here, where the sheltered Saone basin gets 
" baked " in summer, the famous Burgundy wines are produced, 
especially between Dijon and Chalons, e.g. at Beaune. The 
Beaujolais wines, e.g. from Macon and Villefranche, are of the 
same type. Here, too, the oolitic limestone contains — on the 
side away from the frontier — both coal and iron round Le Creusot 
(cf. the Langres cutlery). The coal was worked here long before 
the iron, and even drew for a time the famous Sevres works from 
Paris ; but a century ago the place changed its name from 
Charbonni^re to Le Creusot, and now has the largest iron industry 
in France, including both ordnance and locomotives. In the Jura 
oolite there is no coal, but the industries there are mainly of 
" Swiss " character, e.g. the watches and clocks of Besangon and 
Montbdliard and the mathematical instruments of Morez and St. 
Claude, though heavier work is done along navigable water, e.g. at 
Lyons The essential conditions of the Saone basin are more or less 

Gor:ge. repeated between the narrowing of the valley just below Lyons 
and its opening out again just above Montelimar ; for the lowland 
strip is flanked westward by the mineral-bearing scarp of the 
massif, rich in coal and iron round St. Etienne, and eastward by the 
Savoy Alps, with their abundance of water-power. The latter, 
especially along the Mont Cenis railway in the Arc valley, is 
being largely used in the manufacture of aluminium ; but it is 
also available for the textile industries of Grenoble and Chamb^ry 
(cf. Briangon and Annecy), though kid gloves are a more 
characteristic product of these hill towns. The typical textile is, 
of course, silk, the Rhone valley supplying France with about one- 
seventh of the silk which is used in the country, and the water being 
of a quality admirably suited to the dyeing of silk. Hitherto Lyons, 
the great centre — with a total product valued in 191 1 at about 
;;^i 6,000,000, mainly pure silk tissues and gauzes — has depended 
on the coal of St. Etienne, itself a large producer of silk ribbons 
and trimmings ; but now a great deal of electricity is being trans- 
mitted to Lyons by overhead wire from Alpine waterfalls. Indeed, 
one of the chief features of modern development in the area is the 
utilisation of water-power, especially in the Savoy and Dauphine 
Alps — both locally, e.g. in mines and quarries or chemical and 

XV France 217 

metallurgical industries, and for transmission to distant textile 

The whole land from the Maritime Alps to the Poitevin marsh Old 
once was called Provence, and all its people spoke what was Provence. 
essentially the langue tToc. This implied, and actually involved, a 
unity of political sentiment and a unity of religious development 
which were based on a rich variety of influences — Greek and 
Roman, Spanish and Saracen — unified in passing through the 
funnel by which they entered the area, as the Mohawk-Hudson 
valley unified the medley of races that rushed into the United 
States in the early days of colonisation. The heart of the old 
Provence, in its widest sense, like the perfection of the langue {foe, 
was in the limited area of this funnel to which we still give the 
unofficial names of Languedoc and Provence ; and to a historic 
unity of political and religious influences they add a climatic unity 
— of summer - drought — which gives them a further unity of 
economic interest. The total result is that naturally the region is 
extraordinarily self-contained ; it produces nearly everything that 
is characteristic of France, and scarcely any industry is limited to 
any one part of the region, the only vital distinction being that 
Languedoc is a lowland backed by highland, while Provence is a 
highland backed by lowland. This means that, as we have seen, 
the best harbours must be in Provence, so that such an industry as 
shipbuilding may be confined to, e.g., Marseilles and Toulon (La 
Seyne) ; and that the narrow coast-land of the Riviera beneath 
the overhanging scarp of the highland must be well protected 
climatically, e.g. from the mistral, so that typical invalid resorts, e.g. 
Hyeres and Cannes, Nice and Mentone, may also be confined 
largely to Provence. 

The whole coast-line produces salt, e.g. at Hyeres, on the fitang Provence 
de Berre, in the Pyrenean lagoons ; and, where the salt-works are ^^^ 
very conveniently placed for transport, as along the main branch j^^^' 
of the Rhone in the Camargue below Aries, there are very 
important chemical-works, producing e.g. carbonate of soda for the 
soap-works or caustic soda for the aluminium-works. Bauxite 
actually takes its name from the Baux hills above Aries ; and the 
bauxite and aluminium industry is making enormous strides, not 
only amongst the lignite mines of the Bouches-du-Rhone between 
Aix and Marseilles, but also on the Alpine torrents between 
Draguignan and St. Raphael. Metallurgical progress in Languedoc 
is less rapid, mainly because the mineral-bearing scarp there is 
inland, and so transport is dearer; but there is an important 
coal-field between Alais and Bessbges, where the Gard basin 
yields both iron and zinc, and the Eastern Pyrenees are a very 
valuable source of iron-ore. Languedoc has also, — with great 
facilities for transport westward (by the Canal du Midi) as well as 

2i8 The Continent of Europe ch. 

northward, — a large area of lowland, so that its agricultural output 
is larger than that of Provence. The two together are essentially 
a " land of wine and oil " — the wine mainly in the west and the oil 
in the east, the one merging southward in the market-gardening of 
Roussillon while the other merges southward in the flower-grow- 
ing of the Var ; and both are famous for their poultry ^ and for 
their fruit — grape and olive, peach and apricot, mulberry and 
Provencal The connection of the olive with the flower-growing, as that of 
Olives. tj^g market-gardening with the wine-making, is by no means accidental. 
Both the olives and the flowers need a light and fertile soil, with 
shelter from the cold north winds and exposure to the southern sea ; 
but the character of the soil otherwise, the latitude, the altitude, even 
the distribution of rainfall, are relatively of no moment. For instance, 
the northward limit of the olive has no connection with latitude, 
little with altitude — up to 2500 feet or more, and not much with 
seasonal rainfall, for it flourishes outside the limits of normal " Medi- 
terranean " rainfall ; but it must be protected against N., N.W., and 
N.E. winds. The centre of the olive trade of all France is the 
centre of the flower trade — Grasse, though the actual market has 
been moved to Nice ; and it is most characteristic that the Parma 
violets — which " open the season " — are raised under the shade of 
olives and "citrons," that the most important single product is 
orange-blossom, that the delicate perfume of the roses (the next in 
importance) is due to the pollen carried by the bees to the rose-beds 
from the orange-groves, and that the olive — which "ends the 
season" — should be the basis, with the vine, of the whole scent 
industry. For no animal fat seems to be as " pure " as a vegetable 
fat, and no scent can be trusted to remain " true " unless the alcohol 
used is of grape-origin. When true essence of violets is quoted in 
Grasse at 100 guineas an ounce, it becomes obvious why such an 
enormously more costly product as attar of roses is seldom made in 
the Var valley, but only in countries where the value of human life 
is more or less at a minimum (cf. p. 143). 
Langue- The wine industry in Languedoc is more related to soil than to 

doc Wine, climate directly, and is more noted for quantity than quality, whereas 
exactly the opposite is true of the olive-oil of Provence. As a rule, 
more than one-third {c. 360,000,000 gallons) of the total wine-crop 
of France comes from H^rault and Aude, the former producing 
twice as much as the latter ; and, while the typical Provencal culture 
is on a sheltered terrace, that of Lower Languedoc is on an open 
plain of pebbles and clay mixed with the " lagoon " sand. The 
effect upon the distribution of population is most marked, especially 
between Montpellier and Beziers. The density approaches 300 
per square mile ; and landward of the fitang de Thau, 95 p.c. 
^ The poultry of the Bresse, e.g. round Bourg, are said to be the best in France. 

XV France 219 

of it is "continuous," only the odd 5 persons in every 100 living 
" scattered." 

In both provinces there are important textile industries, mainly Textiles, 
silk — Montpellier having an Institute of Sericulture — but also 
woollen, the sheep of the reclaimed plains of Crau and Camargue 
producing a very fine quality of wool. Relatively more attention is 
paid to wool in the west, e.g. at Nimes and Beziers, with their easy 
access to the sheep-pastures of the Pyrenees and Cevennes as well as 
of the Crau and Camargue,^ and to silk in the east, e.g. at Avignon 
and Montdlimar. There is also division of labour between various 
centres ; for instance, while St. Etienne and St. Chamond specialise 
in ribbons and trimmings, and Lyons is at once the great market 
and the maker of " broad goods," Avignon and the " Alpine " towns 
specialise in " light goods." Gloves are a typical product on both 
sides of the valley, e.g. at Annonay and at Romans. 

The two great foci of the whole Rhone valley, Lyons and Mar- Mar- 
seilles, are, therefore, no longer rivals. Both owe their specific seilles. 
industries, in silk and oil, to natural products of the Rhone valley, 
the mulberry and the olive ; but the industries of both have long 
ago outgrown the home supplies of raw material, and Marseilles has 
thus become a large importer of raw silk for Lyons and of oil-seeds 
and copra for its own soap, candle, and allied industries. Other 
imported raw materials, e.g. hides and sugar, are the basis of import- 
ant industries in and near Marseilles ; and the great port controls 
the export of all the typical products of its hinterland except the 
wine, which is attracted to Cette by the Bordeaux canal. 

The essential prosperity of these industries in modern times has Central 
depended on the coal-fields that skirt the old rock of the massif, but Plateau, 
these are not confined to the eastern scarp. Those at Creusot and 
Blanzy, St. Etienne and Bessbges, are specially rich and accessible ; 
but others are found on almost every side and along the line of 
recent disturbance. The largest fields are where this line of disturb- 
ance emerges from the massif northwards and southwards, and in 
each case the field is eastward of the line, e.g. between Commentry 
and Moulins, Aubin and Decazeville ; and there are small lateral 
fields, e.g. that of Ahun, which supplies the carpet-factories of Aubus- 
son, and that of Beaune, which supplies — via the Allier — the rubber- 
works of Clermont (Ferrand). There are, therefore, busy industries 
on several parts of the plateau outside the St. Etienne district, e.g. 
textiles at Moulins and Roanne, hardware at Montlugon and Camaux, 
and — on the more exposed aspects, where the granite is more quickly 
decomposed — porcelain, e.g. at Limoges and Nevers. The quality 
of the stone on the outskirts of the massif is reflected, e.g., in the 
lithographic industry of Issoudun, the cutlery of Moulins and Chatelle- 

^ A large number of the sheep are migratory — moving in summer up to the 


220 The Continent of Europe cu. xv 

rault, as the vegetation and fauna are reflected in, e.g., the woollens 
of Chateauroux and the gloves of Tulle. 
Industrial Except for the motor industry at Clermont — a typical modern 
J ^°,^I^"„ industry for an old transport centre that has easy access to a rubber- 
port — these are mainly old industries of an area with a fertile agri- 
cultural valley and rich pastures on the rainy volcanic land below its 
highest peaks. The more modern industries sprang up on the richer 
coal-fields in the low fertile valley to the east. But both valleys 
were old lines of movement, and drained the surplus population 
from a relatively barren area to greater opportunities, seasonal or 
otherwise, elsewhere. Such opportunities were more and more of 
an industrial kind ; and the whole basis of French industries is 
individuality. The manual skill and the natural taste of the people 
enable them to specialise in the production of artistic and highly 
finished products, the high price and the " personal " individuality 
of which keep them more or less outside competition, and so give 
them a constant, if somewhat limited, market. When the distribu- 
tion of the coal-fields is related to the sources from which the typical 
industries have drawn their supplies of extra labour, the inference 
seems irresistible that this individuality has a direct relation to the 
area of archean core and to the influence of the old langue doc. 



Mathematically, the British Isles are in the centre of all the land World- 
on the face of the earth ; climatically, they occupy one of the most Relation. 
temperate areas ; commercially, they are on the edge of the busiest 
ocean ; geologically, they are on the shelf of the most advanced 
continent. But their world-relation is perhaps best expressed 
historically ; for their history represents a continuous series of 
adaptations to a progressively widening environment. At the 
beginning of historic times they were on, or even just outside of, 
the margin of civilisation, while to-day they are in the centre of it ; 
and thus they were the last important unit to be included in, and 
the first to be excluded from, the Roman Empire, while they are 
now the nodal objective of all the transcontinental railways that 
thread the vast Eurasian plain, and of all the Great-Circle routes 
that form the shortest links between the areas of densest population 
on the opposite sides of the North Atlantic. 

In this development the controlling influence has been the Ocean 
ocean, and herein lay a unique opportunity. For the ocean is Influence, 
the one great physical unit on the face of the earth ; it implies the 
nearest approach to climatic unity ; and so it made possible the 
political unit of the British Empire. As it is also the ocean that 
has brought about the economic unity of the earth, and yet the 
mass of economic products are from the land, a site essentially 
between ocean and continent offered special facilities for its people 
to control the commerce of the world and to further the Brotherhood 
of Man. In an unprejudiced survey it is scarcely possible to deny 
that England, in spite of all her faults, has been the mother of 
Modern Civilisation ; nor is it a mere accident that practically the 
whole world measures longitude from Greenwich. 

The most important consideration in the regional relation of the Insu- 
islands is probably the physical character of the Narrow Seas, and ^^^^7- 
then the insular freedom from extremes of climate ; and the latter — 
so far as it can be regarded as independent of the former — has been 
historically the less important. Indeed, it is scarcely possible to 

222 The Continent of Europe ch. 

exaggerate the political importance of an island unit in early historic 
times ; for the same conditions which guarantee strategic strength 
against external aggression, greatly favour both internal unity and 
that consciousness of race which is the basis of true patriotism, 
while insular inbreeding always tends to develop a plastic organism 
likely to present wide variations (cf. insular dialects), and therefore 
to make quick progress in civilisation. In the case of England, too, 
traffic on the mainland of Europe was so hampered by forest and 
marsh that in very early days it was driven on to the rivers or coast- 
wise ; that is to say, even the continental traffic was conducted by a 
medium in which an island race could most easily share (cf p. 262). 
The The most important feature of the Narrow Seas historically was 

Narrow their narrowness. England is closely akin in structure and relief to 
®*^' the neighbouring continental lands, and was likely to produce a 
similar type of people ; but insularity was bound to cause some 
diflferentiation, and the one racial danger would have come from 
isolation. From this she was saved by the narrowness of the protect- 
ing seas, for she was always near enough to feel the full influence of 
her neighbours without becoming dependent on them. This was true 
in almost every side of her national life. Economically, English 
farmers could keep sheep — and so lay the foundations of the 
industrial development of the country — in days when war made 
sheep-farming almost impossible on the continent. Again, epidemics 
have — even in recent years — reached the opposite coasts, but have 
not crossed the sea ; or, if they have crossed it, it has only been in 
a relatively feeble form. So, when the sea could not quite stop 
invasion, it delayed it considerably — in days when ships were too 
small for any large army to be suddenly transported across it ; 
and it thus led to a useful variety of inflow and influence, distributed 
from different foci, e.g. Scandinavian from the north, Saxon and 
Danish from the east, Roman and Norman from the south. 
Sea V. The progressive narrowing, eastward and southward, on Dover 

i^^ narrowed the strategic front in such a way as to give maximum 
facilities for naval concentration ; and it is this that has justified 
enormous expense in quite modern times on the construction of a 
great naval and commercial harbour on one of the worst natural sites 
for a harbour along the whole coast. The progressive widening to the 
Atlantic gave every encouragement for expansion over-seas, resulting 
in an extraordinary inflow of wealth and development of power ; and 
much of the wealth from the wide ocean was spent across the Narrow 
Seas — in costly wars which kept the balance of power in Europe — 
while the rest of it fed home industries which had almost a monopoly 
of the world-market as long as our possible European rivals were hope- 
lessly handicapped by the constant war. The greatest market for 
English wool in earlier days was within a few miles of Waterloo ! 
The narrowness of the British seas is due to causes which 


British Isles 


practically also involved shallowness, and the latter has in turn Shallow- 
involved several great advantages. For instance, it is the shallow- Seas. 
ness that protects our coasts from the influence of the deep, icy 
currents from the Arctic Ocean ; it is the main cause of the great 
fishing industries, on which our whole naval power has risen ; above 
all, it is responsible for the high tides which visit our estuaries. And 
these high tides were as useful for their motive power in the days of 
sailing-ships as they are now in carrying huge steamers far inland. 

The actual coast-line is of a character which enables almost Coast- 
maximum use to be made of these conditions. It is so long and lui®. 
so much broken that 
there is no place in the 
whole country much 
more than 7 o miles from 
tidal water ; it is so 
varied, in relation both 
to the land behind it 
and the sea in front of 
it, that it has encouraged 
useful — supplementary 
or complementary — 
variety of human activity ; 
and it is so developed 
as to give a maximum 
of good harbours vis-a- 
vis, as the Clyde and the 
Forth, the Mersey and 
the Humber, the Severn 
and the Thames. More- 
over, where a lowland 
has been submerged 
under a shallow en- 
croachment of the ocean, 
there must have been originally a complete river-system ; and its 
remnants are apt to be symmetrical, as the Thames is to the Rhine 
and Scheldt, the Humber to the Elbe and Weser, and the Solent 
to the Seine. It is not merely the particular feature that is repro- 
duced ; the whole area is strictly comparable, e.g. the Paris basin 
with the Hampshire basin or the polders of Holland with the 
*' Holland" fen of Lincolnshire (cf. p. 211). 

Isolated, then, from Europe by a shallow and narrow waterway, island 
the British Isles were able to maintain their political independence ; Group, 
their safety not only kept them free from fear of invasion, and so 
from any need for military tyranny, but also so minimised the cost 
and amount of men and material needed for home defence as to 
leave a maximum of both for trade and empire over-seas. The 

Natuial divisions of England. 


The Continent of Europe 


Snrface K. 



definite frontier and small area compelled their people to recognise 
limitations, to realise themselves, to develop a national type, and 
that a plastic insular type. The fact that their unit was a group of 
islands, not merely a single island, greatly encouraged individuality, 
independence, initiative ; and these were strengthened by the fact 
that the natural divisions of relief favoured the existence of three 
separate kingdoms in the largest island. The culminating advantage 
was that the kingdom nearest to Europe was large enough and of 
the right physique to make eventually a homogeneous, firmly knit, 
strong leader, while the incoherent units of featureless plain in 
Ireland and intricate heights in Wales were in the background. 

The character of the surface has an intimate relation to the 
variety of coast-line. From a belt of hard old rock in the west, 
overlooking the Atlantic from a considerable height and carved by 
glaciation and exposure to the Atlantic into a bold and angular 
coast, largely of fiord type, Great Britain slopes down to an expanse 
of soft young rock in the east, which disappears gradually under a 
shallow and narrow sea. Through this eastern coast, with its 
smooth and rounded outline, many rivers from the western heights 
carry out immense quantities of silt, with the accompanying 
organisms that make welcome food for fish. And where there is 
no lack of fish food, there food-fish are not likely to be lacking. 

In these Narrow Seas the nature of the "ground" is equally 
favourable to the habits of the fish and the operations of fishing ; 
the nature of the water — especially its temperature and saltness, 
its shallowness and the action of the tides — is as favourable as that 
of the air above it, to a variety of fish life, e.g. migratory cold-loving 
cod and herring and delicate sedentary sole and plaice ; and their 
latitude coincides with the natural limits of most of the valuable 
food-fishes — cod and haddock not being important in Euiopean 
waters south of 50° N., soles and turbot being more or less confined 
to So°-55° N., and mackerel being negligible north of 50° N. The 
latter was peculiarly important in early days owing both to its 
normal distribution south of 50° N. and to its rapidity of movement. 
" Fast fish, fast boat," they say ; and it must never be forgotten 
that Drake and his Sea-Dogs came from the mackerel ports ! 

In structure and relief the islands show great variety without 
undue complexity, the variety being emphasised by the small area ; 
they epitomise the geology of the world, and yet continue the 
simple feature-lines of Europe. They thus present a variety of 
scenery and resources under conditions favourable to human activity, 
but have a structural unity which almost justifies their forming 
politically a united kingdom ; while the fact that they continue 
the feature-lines of Europe, facilitated the inflow of intruders and 
their movement across the whole group in the normal direction 
of those feature-lines, i.e. from north-east to south-west. 

XVI British Isles 225 

The nucleus of the whole area, if not actually the oldest part, "Silur- 
is the rim of slaty "Silurian" rock which is the base of most of the **^" 
land — in all the four kingdoms — that shuts in the Irish Sea. This N"°^®'^ 
is, historically, the real British area ; its physical features, e.g. the 
Cambrian and Cumbrian Mountains, have Cymric names ; its people 
are still typically Mediterranean — long-headed, but short and dark ; 
its " native " languages show how its soft oceanic climate and 
relatively low relief favoured a uniform Mediterranean type of 
people at the expense of the more vigorous Roundheads who 
intruded from the "Alpine" grass-lands of the continent, but — 
like similar Roundheads elsewhere (cf. p. 80) — died out, leaving 
no traces except in their vigorous Keltic languages and in the 
round skulls of the pre-Christian burial barrows. As these 
languages are in no sense " native " either to the people or the 
place, and— like the minor Slav tongues of Eastern Europe (cf. 
p. 348) — are useless for purposes of world-commerce, it seems as 
futile to encourage them artificially on so-called patriotic grounds 
as it is certain that they will die out naturally on economic 

This hard old rock is practically bounded northwards by a line "Silur- 
from Armagh to Dunbar and eastwards by one from the Bass Rock **"" 
to the Wrekin. It is typically slaty, as in the peaks of Skiddaw "**'"^®^' 
and Saddleback and the Mourne Mountains, and is actually quarried 
for slate in Wales and Cumberland ; it is rained, especially for lead, 
e.g. in the Lead Hills and the Isle of Man ; its impervious strata, 
considerable height, and windward position combine to give it 
grand or beautiful " lake " scenery, e.g. in Cumberland and Wicklow 
— though in the latter except for Wicklow Head, which is slate, the 
rock is mainly igneous ; the scenery is finest where there have been 
volcanic upheavals, as in Scafell and Helvellyn, Snowdon and 
Cader Idris ; and the volcanic action, which was probably due to 
the amount of water embedded in the sedimentary " Silurian " rock, 
seems to have played some part in the damming of the glacial 
valleys, as in the case of Derwentwater and Windermere. 

Almost all round this slaty nucleus, and penetrating through it Carboni- 
in some places to the Irish Sea, there is a belt of rock of carboni- ferous 
ferous age. It is mainly millstone grit (sandstone) and limestone ; ^^^^ 
and, though south of the Bristol Channel and west of the Irish Sea 
there is little or no coal in it, the corresponding area in Great 
Britain has been the basis of all our modern industries and com- 
merce. Particular significance, therefore, must be attached to the 
fact that — before the development of the coal — it was one of 
the most backward parts of the country, as illustrated e.g. by the 
support given by its people against Constitutional Government in 
the Civil War; and, where it is entirely devoid of coal, it must be 
expected to be somewhat backward even now. 



The Continent of Europe 


Bed Sand- 

The actual coal-fields are closely associated with a ring of red 
sandstone, which is specially developed in three places — ( i ) on both 
sides of the Severn, almost from its source to its mouth ; (2) on both 
sides of the Pennines from the Tyne round (southward) to the Eden, 
St. Bees' Head being a mass of New Red Sandstone ; and (3) in the 
depression of Lowland Scotland north of the (Armagh)-Girvan- 
Dunbar line. This red sandstone, whether " Old " or " New," and 
whether coal-bearing or not, is very fertile ; thus the Old Red is 
equally fertile whether associated with coal in the Clyde-and-Forth 
plain or dissociated from it in Strathmore, and the New Red is 

The midland valley of Scotland. 

equally fertile whether associated with coal round the South Welsh 
and the South Pennine Mountains or dissociated from it in the Vale 
of York or the Vale of Taunton. Moreover, as its special value is 
for the production of milk (cf. Devon and Cheshire), our dense 
populations sprang up in places which were — or ought to have been 
— within easy reach of abundant supplies of good milk. 
Coal- The coal-measures themselves are largely sandstone -flags and 

Measures, fire-clay, and industrial development has been greatly facilitated by 
their relation to deposits of salt and iron. The richest coal-mines 
are found where the coal-measures are ranged round millstone grit, 
as in South Wales and the South Pennine counties ; at important 
points in the line of the New Red Sandstone, e.g. Droitwich and 
Stafford, but especially along the Tees (Port Clarence and Middles- 

XVI British Isles 227 

borough) and the Weaver and Wheelock (Northwich and Middlewich), 
there are most valuable salt-beds ; and the richest iron-fields are, 
or have been, found where the upper part of the so-called New Red 
Sandstone is represented by ridges of limestone, the source of flux 
for smelting purposes. 

Roughly parallel with the eastern edge of the New Red Sand- "Young" 
stone from the Tees to the Exe run alternate belts of plain and ^<5^- 
ridge, of varied formation, but all "young" — lias, limestone, and 
chalk. The lias is rich in alum, e.g. near Whitby ; and its marlstone 
portions are equally rich in iron, e.g. in Lincolnshire and Northampton- 
shire ; the limestone contains, e.g. in the Bath " freestone," a building 
stone of great beauty, easily quarried and cut, and yet hardening on 
exposure to weather ; the chalk encloses, and holds in basins, the 
clays and more recent deposits which have been the basis of English 
agriculture. In this connection it is important that all these young 
ridges present a steep scarp to the north-west, i.e. the quarter from 
which they get much of their summer rain (cf. p. 56), but slope 
down gradually on the south-east to the Tertiary deposits. 

But, as the sandstone ring merges south-eastward in softer and Ancient 
richer rock, so it merges north-westward, i.e. north of a line lying ^'^^■ 
roughly between Londonderry and Montrose, in older and harder 
rock. This is not only the oldest and hardest, but also the highest 
and most northerly, formation in the whole country ; and, except for 
the Old Red Sandstone round the Moray Firth, it has little wealth 
other than its granite, and that has value only within easy access of 
water-carriage. This north-western oceanic quadrant, therefore, is 
also likely to remain backward, except so far as its water-power may 
be developed ; and in any case it must always present a marked 
contrast, with its moors and mountains, to the corn and cattle lands, 
the woods and orchards, of the south-eastern continental quadrant, 
which — in the days when " Agriculture was King " — was the gateway 
of civilisation for the whole country. 

As the area north and west of the Exe-Tees line consists of very Western 
old and hard rock, it has weathered very slowly ; and, therefore — in Heights, 
spite of its age — it remains as the highest part of the country, broken 
by small areas of lowland which have been fertilised largely at the 
expense of the highlands above and around them. Its natural 
advantages would, at first sight, seem to be limited to easy access to 
the sea, abundance of water, and mineral wealth, especially in coal ; 
but these are conditions which have become progressively more and 
more favourable to density of population. " 

The ridged land south and east of the Exe-Tees line owes its Eastern 
low level to the fact that it consists of rock so young and soft that Lowlands. 
it has not been able to resist the various weathering agencies, even 
though these have been less violent than on the western margin of 
the country. This would have pushed the water-parting of the 


The Continent of Europe 


country westward, even if the hard old rock had not had the higher 
elevation originally ; and so the longer rivers must have flowed east- 
ward towards the continent, and the larger amount of alluvium must 
have been distributed over what was naturally the more fertile rock. 
The more resistant parts of this, however, have survived as ridges of 
limestone and chalk between the expanses of clay and other newer 
material ; and they have a more or less uniform steepness of scarp 
towards the north-west and a more or less uniform height. The 
Cotswold scarp has the same relation to the Avon as the Lincoln 
Heights have to the Trent ; and it is the ends of the main limestone 
and main chalk uplands that, in the Cleveland moors and Yorkshire 
wolds, have carried the coast-line out eastward between the Humber 
and the Tees. The Trent and the Ouse meet so far inland, not 


E3yinuuium ^ 

W^*^ Saashot Sanda 

London Clay 

Woolwich Beds &c 


9....S V> iji MUes 

Structural map of the London basin. 

because the Trent is controlled by the Lincoln Heights, but because 
both are following — the one southward and the other northward — 
the New Red Sandstone plain; and evidence of the eastward 
extension of the coast -line through the break in the main chalk 
upland, between the East Anglian Heights and the Lincoln wolds, 
is found in the silting up of the old harbours of Boston and King's 

The glaciation which provided e.g. the boulder clay of the heavy 
wheat-soils in East Anglia and the lime which lightened and enriched 
that clay, was not extended south of the Thames ; and in this 
southern unglaciated area the chalk uplands have a normal west-and- 
east lie, not south-west and north-east. And from the pivot of the 
Wiltshire upfold the two chief downfolds have been filled up with 
Tertiary materials to form the London and Hampshire basins. The 
acute-angled fan of " London clay " that spreads out eastwards from 

XVI British Isles 229 

Newbury represents the Tertiary estuary of the Thames ; the obtuse- 
angled fan of " Bognor clay " that spreads out southwards from 
Andover represents a similar formation of equal agricultural value. 

The climate is of the most favourable "Atlantic " type (cf. p. 53), climate, 
but the "insular" freedom from extremes is not due to insularity 
per se. In the first place [see diagram on p. 231], the low- 
pressure systems which reach the islands about every ten days, on 
an average, the whole year through — though the interval is actually 
less in winter and greater in summer — follow frequently one of two 
tracks ; one is the " bay of warmth " which marks the beginning of 
the continental shelf, i.e. north-west of the Outer Hebrides, and the 
other is the English Channel. Obviously, when the Icelandic centre 
is dominant, t'.e. in winter — when, too, the high pressure over Europe 
deflects warm winds northward (cf. p. 55) — this must mean very 
heavy rain in the British Isles, especially on the higher western 
parts. But as winds in a low-pressure system occupy in turn 
every point of the compass, rain can be brought by any wind ; the 
east coast may get purely cyclonic rains from an east wind. Indeed, 
the surest sign of rain over the Thames basin is the S.E. wind that 
marks the advanced "shoulder" of a low-pressure system that is 
working up channel. 

High-pressure systems, on the other hand, do not "follow a High- 
track " at all ; they do not even " travel " as a rule, but only spread, pressure 
In summer high-pressure influences may spread, at all events to the ^° ®°^^" 
south of the islands, from the Azores centre ; and then the air is 
refreshingly cool, both because it comes off" the ocean and because 
it comes from a high-pressure centre. In winter high-pressure 
influences may spread, at all events to the south-eastern quadrant 
of Great Britain, from the cold block on the continent ; and, if very 
cold heavy air sinks down then into northward-looking valleys, e.g. 
even the Clyde valley, it may lie there for weeks — skating having 
continued occasionally even in Glasgow for three consecutive 

Again, in the "continental" quadrant of England, which by Contin- 
structure and soil has been made predominantly agricultural, there ^^^^^ 
is a typical " continental " acceleration of maxima and minima ^"* '^^^ ' 
(cf. p. 55); and this involves, amongst other things, a relatively 
heavy rainfall on the limestone and chalk uplands in /uly, i.e. the 
month immediately preceding normal harvest. 

The freedom from extremes is specially a matter of temperature ; Tempera- 
and in this connection elevation is an important factor. For *'"^®- 
distance from the Atlantic and proximity to Europe cause 
temperatures in summer to decrease from south-east to north-west, 
i.e. from the lowest elevation to the highest ; and the actual 
temperature in July over the north-west of Scotland averages under 
54° F., when that in the Home Counties is over 63° F. The 


The Continent of Europe 


height, however, is not great enough to materially affect the 
isotherms, which are "sun-Hnes" in summer and "sea-lines" in 
winter ; in summer, therefore, they run normally east and west, the 














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Seasonal isotherms. 

temperature falling northwards, while in winter they run normally 

north and south, the temperature falling eastwards. 

Climatic Extremes are greatest, therefore, in the south-east quadrant ; and 

Regions, this implies several advantages to agriculture, including a hard 

winter and a hot summer, with a low but well-distributed rainfall. 


British Isles 


In these respects the north-eastern quadrant is in most agreement 
with the south-eastern, but it has a slightly higher rainfall and a 
slightly smaller range of temperature (20° F. v. 23° F.). As this 
area includes a considerable amount of low and fertile land, e.g. 
the Old Red Sandstone of Strathmore, agriculture is again pre- 
dominant. Similar conditions are also found on the limestone plain 
of East-Central Ireland ; and it is significant that Ireland sometimes 
has a higher return per acre on her grain crops than either England 
or Scotland. A statistical return a few years ago was — 

Wheat — Scotland, 37 bushels ; Ireland, 31 ; England, 30. 
Barley — Ireland, 39 ; Scotland, 36 ; England, 33. 
Oats — Ireland, 43 ; England, 41 ; Scotland, 37. 

Jan.isanomalous lines- 

Annual Minimum---^-- Annual Extreme Kange- 
Winter gulf of warmth. 

The western parts both of Great Britain and of Ireland are Cattle- 
those most free from extremes of temperature — largely because they Reaiing. 
are less free from extremes of rainfall ; and it is in this combination 
that the secret lies of their predominance in cattle-rearing, which has 
hitherto depended on the growth of lush grass for a maximum pro- 
portion of the year and the minimum need for housing the beasts 
during the rest of the year. In Ireland — outside the area mentioned 
— the range of temperature scarcely exceeds 16° F., while in the 
north-west of Great Britain it is 18° F. ; but both level and latitude 
are greatly in favour of Ireland. Indeed, Western Scotland is 
negligible as a cattle-rearing area. The south-western quadrant of 
England, however, is the most favoured area. With a range of 

232 The Continent of Europe ch. 

19° F. it has quite a warm winter, heavy rainfall, and a most fertile 
soil, largely red sandstone. Along the whole of the British west 
coast, too, the high relative humidity is exceedingly favourable to 
textile industries, although the northern half of the country is too 
narrow to have a low humidity even in the east 

The chief industries of the country may be ranged under five 
heads — commerce, manufactures, farming, mining, and fishing ; and 
in each case geographical conditions have concentrated activity at 
certain foci. The bases of the commerce and manufactures are, of 
course, the fishing and mining. The former, apart from its value as 
supplying food, is the only school for a navy, mercantile or other- 
wise ; and it is the mineral wealth that has led to such congestion 
of population — adverse to, and largely drawn away from, rural 
industries — that the country must import food as well as raw 
materials for manufacturing purposes. In each case, too, the chief 
foci present interesting points of contrast, which justify their separate 
existence, and throw light on their historical development. It is 
only on the causes underlying these contrasts that emphasis will 
here be laid. 

For instance, for the small area of 120,000 square miles there 
are at least ten great commercial harbours, i.e. more than all those 
— comparable in character and importance — found between the 
mouth of the Guadalquivir and that of the Elbe ; and they represent 
what may be called parallel belts of hinterland from south-east to 
north-west, decreasing in fertility and ease of access from the Old 
World and increasing in mineral wealth and ease of access to the 
New World. On the continental margin of the agricultural area 
the two clay basins contain the two oldest ports, largely concerned 
historically with the trade of the opposite parts of the continent, of 
which their basins once formed part. On the inner margin of the 
agricultural belt the two most important river-basins of the country 
have found outlets at Bristol and Hull, both related to the sandstone 
plain and the limestone upland, but the ocean-port much older than 
the seaport. The coal-fields " behind " the agricultural belt have 
their great outlets at their extreme ends, but here the seaport is 
much older than the ocean-port ; indeed, Cardiff is only a creation 
of the last fifty years. Windward of the coal-fields are the two 
great textile harbours of Liverpool and Manchester, both command- 
ing the Cheshire Gate to and from the centre of the slate-girt Irish 
Sea. Isolated on the northern margin of the same sea, at once 
farther away from privateering in days before the Industrial 
Revolution and nearer to America in later days, Glasgow and 
Belfast owe their existence on the banks of natural " creeks " to the 
experience in dealing with a sand-choked creek in the Cheshire 
Gate, though in the latter case the Dee was actually replaced by the 


British Isles 


The outlets of the two clay basins agree in their natural Tower 
advantages of nearness to the continent, fertile hinterland, and ^^^^• 

^ oj o 

HO c 

double tide ; but, especially in relation to the " double " character 
of the tide, they present marked contrasts. Tower Hill was the 
spot on which — in prehistoric times of land travel — all tracks con- 


The Continent of Europe 


V. Water- 

ment and 


verged to get round the estuarine marshes which made the river 
itself unapproachable, and so made it an appropriate and impassable 
barrier between glacial and non-glacial England ; and it was the 
permanence of this "control," on a smaller scale, that made the 
river above Tower Hill a boundary between so many counties. 
Even at Tower Hill the ford was so often inaccessible that a village 
— for detained traders — sprang up on the shoulder of the hill, 
guarded by a fort on the summit ; and the ford was soon replaced 
by a ferry, as the ferry was subsequently replaced by a bridge, on 
which all roads converged. 

When waterways supplanted landways, this focus of roads 
became an objective of navigation ; and the consequent power of 
distribution was only increased when again traffic became land-traffic, 
but carried on by canal and rail. The smallness of the area made 
the whole of it more or less the railway-hinterland of London, so 
that London grew at the expense of other ports, especially Bristol ; 
but the development of the provincial ports, with their local 
advantages, is now taking the provincial trade away from London. 
At the same time, London never had any local competition, for the 
marshy nature of the alluvium on the shores of the estuary prac- 
tically forbade the existence of any towns, though useful forts could 
be built where the chalk approached the river on both sides, e.g. at 
Tilbury and Gravesend, and great castles could be pile-reared 
amongst the treacherous swamps, as at Sheerness and Queenborough. 

The mere accident that whole fleets collected* in the Downs 
during easterly or north-easterly gales, helped to make London a 
great port of transhipment, thus increasing its " nodal " value ; and 
the consequent growth of population made it an enormous market — 
with an immediate demand now from 7,000,000 people — which 
encouraged the growth of transit outports, such as Harwich and 
Dover, but effectually prevented their becoming centres of population 
(cf. p. 214). It was under such circumstances that London de- 
veloped into the greatest port in the world, which it has been for 
the last 200 years; and much modern criticism of the port implies 
some ignorance of its geographical conditions. 

Quite apart from the absurdity of comparing its hinterland with 
that of its great rivals, e.g. Antwerp, Rotterdam, and Hamburg (cf. 
p. 265), there is practically no comparison between the Thames and 
the rival rivers. London has much the best channel of the four. 
Not one of the others has anything like a 30-foot minimum low- 
water channel up to its lowest docks, as London has approximately 
up to Tilbury ; still less has any one of them a maximum high-water 
channel of 50 feet This 20-foot range, which gives the largest 
vessels a chance of reaching the Royal Albert Dock, is due to the 
meeting of two tides — one twelve hours behind the other — which com- 
plement each other in flowing up the Thames ; but the same two 

XVI British Isles 235 

tides counteract one another eastward — where crest meets trough 
instead of crest meeting crest — giving Rotterdam a tidal range of 
only 5 feet, and incidentally causing the Rhine to deposit a delta. 
The Scheldt, and still more the Elbe, are certainly more favoured 
than the Rhine in this respect; but the Elbe is much troubled 
by ice. 

The Thames has, however, two great drawbacks, one historical Historic 
and the other natural. The latter is that the tide — being double London, 
in the sense that two tides go up the river at the same time — is too 
strong ; the former is concerned mainly with the predominance of 
the city in very early times. For London was a great market looo 
years before railways were thought of, and all that time she was a 
great port; and so her river-front had come to be occupied by 
wharves, etc., and the land behind it had been covered with ware- 
houses, etc., with the obvious result that the centre of the port was 
practically closed to the intrusion of railways. Further, as ships 
increased in number and in size, they could not all or always moor 
at the wharves, but had to lie out in the middle of the river or not 
come up to the heart of the city. New docks were built farther and 
farther down the river, but their value was in inverse ratio to their 
distance from the " Pool " ; and the alternative of working the traffic 
by barges higher up the river was not only the more suitable, but 
also already established in practice. London, then, is a barge port, 
with a fleet of fully 12,000 barges ; and the strength of the tide prac- 
tically dispenses with any other source of motive-power. 

There is nothing in all this in itself adverse to shipbuilding on Thames 
the river ; and the disadvantages urged against the river, e.g. distance Ship- 
from coal and iron, are becoming continuously less important. For <*"*e' 
the materials now used are made of mild steel, not iron, and are 
largely worked " cold " ; and this minimises the need for coal — 
especially as the machine tools are mainly actuated by electricity — 
while the steel-plates, etc., are delivered by the great producers in 
North-East England at the same price everywhere in the country, 
whether Poplar, Barrow, or Belfast. The removal of yards, then, 
from the Thames to the Clyde is due mainly to the better and 
cheaper labour, involving a saving of 12-15 p.c. at Scotstoun over 
Poplar, and partly to such subordinate considerations as access to 
a good " measured mile " for speed trials. 

In some small points, e.g. healthiness and scenery, Southampton South- 
has natural advantages over London ; and it had obvious historical hampton 
advantages so long as Winchester was the "English" capital, or ''' **^ °°' 
England was governed by Norman dukes, or civilisation was west 
of the Rhine, or the export of *' South-Down " wool was still legal. 
With the loss of these advantages, and after the political isolation of 
the country from the continent had led to great internal develop- 
ment, Southampton had no chance against London ; but the very 


The Continent of Europe 



advantages by which London won her monopoly, eventually reacted 
in favour of Southampton. Once cargoes from the Atlantic for 
London had to be trans-shipped on to rail, it was a matter of little 
importance whether that was done far down the Thames or far up 
the Itchen ; and the latter saves the long detour by the foggy and 
crowded Dover Strait — no small advantage in the saving of insurance 
and in the quick transport of meat and vegetables, fruit and dairy 
produce. These conditions, with the possession of very good docks, 
have more than doubled the traffic in twenty years. 

The essential advantages of the harbour, however, are its double 
front and its double tide. It has a double front because it stands 
on the peninsula between the Itchen and the Test ; its tide is 
double, not because two tides come in at the same time, but because 
the same tide comes in twice. The obtuse-angled basin has 
naturally a very broad base, 23 miles of which (east and west) is 

,^^7^2'-''"'"^-^ ^V^r^ej.: 

rine a 

' . . . fi ^ 


Structural map of the Hampshire basin. 

occupied by the Isle of Wight ; and this gives the port a double 
tide, the first by way of the Solent and the second — two hours later 
— by way of Spithead. While this regime never involves a violent 
current, such as troubles the Thames, it effectually prevents there 
being a normal low-water minimum ; and the strategic and climatic 
shelter afforded by the Isle of Wight are reflected in the old saying 
that " The Solent might make a Queen's chamber." The shelter 
and safe anchorage, the easy entrance by day or night, and the 
four tides a day combine, therefore, to give the port exceptional 
advantages on the great route to the New World and the Suez 
Canal from London and all its rival harbours. 

On the inner margin of the great agricultural belt, commanding 
the outlets of its two chief river-basins, and with easy access on or 
along Avon and Stour to what were — before the reclaiming of the 
Fens — the richest corn and cattle lands of the country, Bristol and 
(Kingston-on-) Hull have been our two great agricultural ports. 
Even the slave trade, which was so profitable to Bristol, was looked 
upon in those days as a trade in " agricultural implements " ; and 


British Isles 


the oldest streets in the city still bear such names as " Wine Street " 
and "Corn Street." Indeed, the strategic importance of both 
places was largely as outposts of the civilised agricultural area, 
though it was based fundamentally on their " peninsular " isolation — 
between Avon and Frome, between Humber and Hull — and on the 
protection of the Avon Gorge in the one case and of the " Holder- 
ness " swamps in the other case. It was these swamps that attracted 
the attention of Edward I. when he was securing his route to 
Scotland ; and he gave the title of " King's-Town " to the mihtary 
station which he founded between Humber and Hull — on a site 
exactly comparable, e.g. in its pile-foundations and protecting ^ 
sluices, to that on which his grandson built Queenborough. 

Map of Bristol and the lower Avon. 
Contour-lines at intervals of 100 feet. 

Historically, Bristol had the advantage — locally in nearness to Bristol. 
the Roman station of Bath and the lead-mines which the Romans 
began to work in the Mendips, and regionally, in nearness to London 
landward and to Ireland (for wool) and France (for wine) seaward. 
Later on, with the opening up of the Atlantic, these advantages 
were increased ; and, as long as trans-oceanic shipping depended on 
wind-power, no port on the north-east coast could compete with one 
on the south-west coast, with its shorter and more direct, less foggy 
and less crowded, access to the ocean. Even now Bristol's main 
chance of enlarging its sphere lies in the fact that it is nearer to 
America than either Liverpool or Southampton, and nearer to London 


^ In the Civil War Hull was protected by deliberate flooding of the surrounding 

238 The Continent of Europe ch. 

than either Liverpool or Fishguard. And it is this that has en- 
couraged — if it has not quite justified — the creation of very fine 
docks at Avonmouth and such improvement of the eight miles of 
river up to Bristol that vessels 325 feet long and carrying nearly 
6000 tons of cargo can thread the whole gorge — under the Clifton 
Suspension Bridge — up to the heart of the city. 

Hull. Even this, however, cannot compensate for its thinly-peopled 

and limited hinterland ; and in this respect Hull claims an enormous 
advantage, with a hinterland population of perhaps 10,000,000 
persons and with excellent means of transport inland by rail, river, 
and canal. It may lose its timber trade — a typically " Baltic " trade 
— to Grimsby and Immingham, as it has lost much of its old fish 
trade ; but it must remain an exceedingly important food-depot for 
both man and beast,^ and it is mainly the size of its trade that 
accounts for the cheapness of the port. This is its one great 
advantage ; for instance, in sending food to Birmingham, it has an 
advantage over London in cost varying from perhaps 2 p.c. for 
meat and 9 p.c. for butter up to 25 p.c. for apples and over 30 p.c. 
for eggs. 

Mineral Behind the agricultural belt comes the mineral belt, and the 

Ports, exploitation of the latter largely depended on — or actually consisted 
in — the working of the coal-fields. At the two seaward extremities 
of the belt Newcastle and Cardiff are the most important coal-ports 
on the face of the earth — " Newcastle " being understood to include 
all the Tyne ports, as "Cardiff"" includes Barry and Penarth; but 
some of their geographical conditions are widely different, the recent 
development of Cardiff" being more or less based on the possession 
of a monopoly. As a matter of fact, both Newport and Port Talbot 
are in some respects better natural harbours ; and Newport is likely 
to become a very serious rival. It taps that part of the coal-field 
which has been least exploited ; the Usk is the deepest tidal river with 
floating docks in the British Isles ; and it has the largest single dock 
in the world. These are the conditions which account for the recent 
removal of several very large works to Newport from the Midlands. 
But Port Talbot, like its neighbour, Swansea, is specifically interested 
in metal industries — though coal, including anthracite, is a dominat- 
ing feature ; and Newport was, and still is technically, " English." 

CardifiF. Cardiff" owes its predominance to that convergence of valleys 

which, ages ago, made it the capital of the British kingdom of 
Gwent. For the coal-deposits of Glamorgan and Monmouth lie in 
a series of narrow valleys, e.g. those of Taff" and Rhymney, which 
converge on the lowland behind Cardiff" and Newport, and Cardiff 
was the nearest outlet to the part of the coal-field first worked. A 
number of quite independent circumstances favoured the growth of 

^ It has the largest oil-seed industry in the world except that of Memphis 
(U.S. A.), and its river-system drains one-sixth of England. 


British Isles 


South Wales coal-field. 

the port — including the displacement of clippers by tramp-steamers 
and the opening of the Suez Canal ; but the fundamental advantage 
was in the superiority of the coal for bunkering purposes. Fifty 
years ago the South Wales coal-field exported only 10,000,000 tons 
a year; twenty-five years 
ago the export was 
25,000,000 tons; and it 
is now nearly 50,000,000, 
i.e. 40 p.c. of the whole 
export of the country. 
Like all other great coal- 
exporting harbours, Cardiff 
has great facilities for im- 
porting cheaply, because 
steamers can always get 
a return cargo ; and this 
is reflected in, e.g. the 
great flour-milling industry of the town. But its growth has been 
more or less of " mushroom " character, guided by the wise 
expenditure of locally-won wealth on local needs, e.g. fine docks ; 
but that wealth was essentially based on the " monopoly " of steam 
coal and anthracite. 

Newcastle has had a very different history. Its importance in New- 
early times was almost entirely strategic, the "new castle" of the castle. 
Normans only replacing an old one built on the same site by the 
Romans ; and the occupational control of its strategic period seems 
to have favoured a political type, both of individual and of group, 
which has been largely responsible for its economic importance in 
more recent times. From the time when the Romans built their 
great wall, the Tynesiders, whether lead-miners in the South Tyne 
valley or the fishermen of Jarrow port, became typical frontiers- 
men, alert and independent, adaptable and not afraid of taking 
responsibility. Presently these frontiersmen became an important 
factor in the staple trade of their age and country, the wool trade, 
for which the relatively high winter temperature is so favourable 
that Northumberland ^ is still the most important sheep-rearing 
county in England, though Newcastle is no longer one of the chief 
wool-markets of Europe. The export of the wool was obviously 
associated with England's greatest historic industry, that of fishing ; 
and, when the Tynesider began to handle another great staple, 
coal, it was one of world importance. As miner and fisherman, he 
had only continued the strenuous life and constant danger of the 
frontiersman ; and, as wool-raiser, as fisherman, as coal-miner, he 

1 The neighbouring county of Durham is the home of the Shorthorn cattle, the 
most famous breed in the kingdom and by far the most numecous [c. 4,500,000 out 
oft". 7,000,000 in 191 1 ). 


The Continent of Europe 


had had for centuries his finger on the pulse of the commercial 
world of his age. 
The Tyne. About half-way between the present head of navigation at 
Newburn and the probable old head of navigation at Wall's-End — 
an appropriate place, therefore, for the great wall to end — the low 
southern bank rises to the level of the high northern bank ; and 
where the twin heights close in on the river, there the Great North 
Road dropped to the river at Gateshead (" Road-Head "), and the 
opposite end of the ford was guarded by a castle. Both above and 
below this point — now marked by the High and Low Level Bridges 
— the bed of the river was deep clay ; and the constriction of the 
banks at the " Bridges " increased the natural scour until Newcastle 
became the normal head of navigation, while similar constriction at 

Contour'- lines at intervals of 100 
feet. Dotted areas are between low- 
and high-water mark. 

ment of 

the mouth of the river made the intervening section of the river 
almost a natural dock. With such a population and such a river- 
bed (clay), it was comparatively a small thing to canalise the whole 
river up to Newburn, giving fully 30 feet of depth as far as the 
upper constriction, and to extend the lower constriction by running 
out great walls to the 5-fathom line, so that sand could not accumu- 
late and vessels could enter straight from the sea. 

The mineral wealth justified and defrayed the expense of these 
great enterprises, and the distribution of it was exceedingly favour- 
able both to export and to the development of local industries. 
The mines first worked were so near the river that, even with 
pack-horse transport, it was possible and profitable to export the 
coal ; ^ the height of the banks makes it equally possible and 

^ It began to be worked in the thirteenth century, and went to London by sea — 
hence its old name of " sea-coal." 

XVI British Isles 241 

profitable to work the transport to-day mainly by gravitation, the 
loaded trucks pulling the empty ones back up the hill. The 
growth of the export implied more cheapness of import, e.g. of 
timber for pit-props and of ores to replace the exhausted home 
ores ; and, as a huge export of heavy iron goods came to be added 
to that of coal, increase of tonnage out encouraged increase of 
other materials in, e.g. food-stuffs. Meantime, the Tyne Gap had 
been becoming more capable of use, e.g. deforested and drained ; 
and, once it was threaded by a railway, Newcastle had obvious 
facilities for distribution westward. And the typical frontiersman 
seizes an opportunity when he sees it. It is significant that it was 
on the Tyne that the first steam collier was built, and that a Tyne 
tug was the first steam " trawler." 

The modern development of textile industries depended South 
absolutely on the coal — the value of which was greatly increased I^ca- 
by its proximity to salt, as a basis of chemical industries, in both 
Yorkshire and Lancashire — and the two great textile ports are to 
windward of the coal-belt, i.e. in what was in earlier times the most 
backward part of the country, isolated by marsh and mountain, by 
forest and glacial clay. At one point in the forested marsh at the 
foot of the mountains, " a hard rock of stone " cropped out ; the 
whole formation, of which it was the most conspicuous point, caused 
four streams to converge here, and the rock ^ offered a site for a 
fort, while the current offered a source of "power" that was pre- 
sently utilised. Along these and other streams tracks converged 
on the rock from the watershed, t.e. past the sites of Bolton, Bury, 
Rochdale, Oldham, etc., the Irwell valley leading to both Bolton 
and Bury ; and, once a busy industry and a correspondingly large 
population had sprung up on the eastern flank of the watershed, 
the rock was bound to become the focus for all roads westward. 
In this way the woollen industry was extended, mainly by Flemish 
weavers, into Lancashire in the thirteenth century ; and it is still 
an important industry in the area. But when — 200 years later — 
Levant " cotton-^oo\ " was introduced into England, it soon be- 
came evident that Lancashire could handle this new material better 
than any other part of the country ; and, though the germs of 
plague were introduced by the cotton, and epidemics paralysed the 
industry at least twice, geographical conditions were so favourable 
that it was bound to recover. 

Eventually Manchester became the natural focus of fully Man- 
8,000,000 people — with obvious results. The greatly increased cheater, 
value of land, capable of being covered very cheaply with houses 
of brick made of the local clay, drove many mills and works across 
the Irwell into Salford and farther afield ; and Manchester became 
more important commercially than industrially, thus attracting 

1 The place still bears the significant name of " Castlefield. " 



The Continent of Europe 


(1830) the second railway in the kingdom, "The Manchester and 
Sheffield." The ship canal — 35 miles long, with a minimum depth 
of 28 feet, and a bottom width of 40 yards — was the natural sequel, 



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forecast by the success of the Duke of Bridgewater's great work ; 
and now, as the nearest port to 150 towns, Manchester stands 
fourth of all British ports in the value of her total trade, importing 

XVI British Isles 243 

her staple, cotton, and such significant other products as oil, lard, 
fruit, timber, and grain, and exporting coal, cotton goods, and 
machinery, including machine tools. 

As Manchester owed its start to the growth of the Yorkshire Liverpool, 
woollen industry, so Liverpool owed its start to that of the Lancashire 
cotton industry ; and, therefore, it started relatively late, Bristol and 
Plymouth, London and Southampton, having an immense advantage 
in this respect. But its great rival, London, was severely handi- 
capped — at the critical time in the development of Liverpool — by 
the plague and by the constant danger from Dutch fleets. And the 
topographical details of the Liverpool site saved it from the fate of 
Chester, which originally monopolised the sea-trade of the *' Cheshire 
Gap," but which dare not — for fear of Welsh raids — move its port 
farther down the river, i.e. away from the Castle rock, as the river 
silted up. For Liverpool stands at the sea end of a bottle-necked 
estuary which runs at right angles to the prevailing wind, and there- 
fore could be entered or left by sailing vessels with equal ease ; and 
the windy exposure, added to the dry subsoil and the good 
" drainage " slope ^ of the red-sandstone block, made the site 
exceptionally healthy. This narrow neck has other advantages, two 
of which decided the fate of Liverpool. The one is that the 
concentration of the broad " Sloyne lake " on the narrows gives the 
current exceptional scouring force, which maintained a good depth 
in spite of the great volume of sand ; the other is that the facilities 
for coming alongside the natural bank, even before it was lined 
with 10 miles of fine docks and nearly 40 miles of level quays, were 
greatest at the very place most suitable for the rise of a city. 
Incidentally, too, these conditions have greatly facilitated dredging, 
for they have focused the main trouble on a definite and quite 
limited bar, and so have not caused difl5culties such as exist on the 
Thames, e.g. the " slipping " of banks. On the other hand, they 
have evolved the famous landing-stage. Owing to the great 
difference of tidal level, the docks can be open only for a short 
time (at high water) ; but the landing-stage (over 800 yards long) is 
built on floating pontoons which rise and fall with the tide. 

As the " Home of Ship Owners," Liverpool's interests are world- Man- 
wide ; but the special commodities handled are raw cotton, food- ^^^s*^'^ ^• 
stuffs, and tobacco inwards, and cotton goods and iron and steel 
goods outwards. Typical industries, therefore, are flour-milling and 
the making of marine engines, while the typical attitude is a broad 
outlook. This will probably always put the port beyond the fear of 
serious competition from Manchester. For the dense population of 
the natural hinterland of Manchester has one absolutely dominant 
economic interest, and that in a product which can, under no 
circumstances, be grown in this country ; nor are its best customers 
* The name almost certainly means ' ' The Pool of the Slopes. " 


The Continent of Europe 


for cotton goods found in this country. Its outlook is, therefore, at 
once narrow and not typically British ; and yet its economic 
interests can be pushed by sheer tyranny of numbers. 
Glasgow. Glasgow and Belfast were still later in developing, and both 

were made by strenuous effort. Isolated on the ocean margin, both 
were secure from privateers and nearer to the sugar, tobacco, and 
cotton of the New World than any of their rivals ; and both had 
chances of monopolising the foreign trade of their respective 
countries. Glasgow, however — once the Act of Union was 
passed — was in much the stronger position, e.g. having both a much 
larger hinterland without " break of bulk " and the essential bases of 
industry in rich fields of coal and iron ; and, until Glasgow had 
perfected the steam-dredger, Belfast could not be reached through 
the " sloblands " of the sluggish Lagan. Within a century and a 
half from the time when Smeaton reported (1740) that the depth 
of water just east of the Kelvin-Clyde confluence was 15 inches^ 
there was a high- water depth of over 33 feet at the same place. 
Under the guidance of Telford and Watt and Galthorne — whose 
experience of the sands of Dee was invaluable — the Clyde was 
first narrowed to produce a scour which would remove loosened 
silt and prevent new silt from accumulating very quickly ; then it was 
systematically dredged to a minimum of 22 feet ; and so "the river 
made the city when the citizens had once made the river." This 
has been true in a remarkable sense ; for the deepening of the river 
has had a profoundly beneficial effect on the tidal wave, which reaches 
Glasgow now in 2 hours less than it did a century ago, while the flow 
of spring tides has been lengthened from 4^ to 6 hours and their 
ebb shortened from 8 to 6^ hours. 
Woollen 1 The commerce of these great ports reflects especially two 
Industry, supremely important industries — textiles and hardware, the one 
almost as clearly connected with the climate now as the other was 
originally connected with the structure of the country. The develop- 
ment of the wool trade with Flanders, in the days when Norwich 
was really " Norwich by the Sea " — and she is still no farther than 
Glasgow from the sea — made the city the natural home of the 
woollen industry, as also the natural asylum for refugees from the 
continent. But, even before the use of coal — with the silting up of 
the Norwich bay and the need for removing a staple industry to a 
safer site farther inland — Norfolk began to give place to Yorkshire ; 
and the latter still has special advantages, e.g. in water-supply, 
climate, and access to fuel and machinery, to markets and raw 
materials. Hand-work survives in the islands only in remote places 
where neither fuel nor machinery is accessible, e.g. the Hebrides and 
Connaught ; and these two essentials affect machine work even in 
places that are not remote. Thus, climate, hill-pastures, and soft 
water are favourable along the Cotswolds and the Cheviots, e.g. at 


British Isles 


Frome and Bradford, at Hawick and Galashiels, the Cotswold water 
— like that of the Leven at Alexandria — being very suitable for dye- 
ing "grain" colours; but the distance from fuel and machinery is a 
drawback. On the contrary, the Leicester coal is coupled with a 
more continental climate, which is more suited to hosiery than to 

Orlmey /a.^^ 

Rainfall ia iuches 

Plymouth P b <* " ^ ^ ' 

I i s h 



Annual rainfall of the British Isles. 
Based upon a map by Dr. H. R. Mill. 

general woollens. Yorkshire, then, has the most advantages. It 
has easy access to home and foreign supplies of wool, and to 
countries with winters cold enough to cause a demand for woollen 
clothing ; water of the right quality is abundant ; up under the water- 
parting, the " muggy " air that lodges in the valleys, e.g. in those 
of Aire and Calder, is almost ideal for the various manufacturing 


The Continent of Europe 





processes ; and the presence of the necessary coal has also involved 
multiplication of means of transport. 

The localisation of the cotton industry round the ring of torrent- 
scarred hills on the windward side of the Pennines is purely climatic. 
Access to fuel and machinery or to markets and raw materials is no 
easier than in Yorkshire, but the relative humidity is higher ; and 
this makes the climate much more favourable to a vegetable product, 
as illustrated even by the division of labour on the spot. For the 
spinning is monopolised by the towns with the most humid climate 
and the best water ; and, even so, the finest spinning goes to the 
seaward towns, e.g. Bolton, while the coarse spinning goes landward, 
e.g. to Oldham. In the areas of still lower humidity, e.g. the Ribble 
basin, weaving is more typical than spinning (cf. Preston and Black- 
bum) ; and in still drier areas, e.g. in the lee of the Welsh mountains, 
the work is largely confined to secondary processes such as lace- 
making and hosiery -knitting, as at Nottingham. 

The iron and steel industries illustrate the same permanence of 
geographic control with the same progressive variations in the 
manifestation of the control. The permanence is most conspicuous 
in the case of Birmingham and Sheffield. Both have historic in- 
dustries of at least 1000 years' standing; both had, to start with, 
local supplies of ore and of fuel — from the Forests of Arden and 
Sherwood ; and both had *' local " supplies of coal, and were within 
easy reach of imported ore, whether of home or foreign origin. But 
their non-local relations were different, for Birmingham is in the very 
heart of England. No doubt, the fact that it stands at about equal 
distances from navigable water on Trent and Severn and Avon 
encouraged the construction of canals ; but it was essentially on a 
site the full value of which could only be realised by railways. Both 
climate and relief are responsible for this. For obviously the size 
of a canal lock must bear some relation to water-supply as conditioned 
by rainfall, and the demand on this supply is greatest where popula- 
tion is densest, as round Birmingham and Wolverhampton ; and 
long stretches of the natural routes in this district are at least 400 
feet above the sea, and are so covered with buildings that land has 
a prohibitive value. Even if the deficiency of local water-supply 
could be made good, e.g. from the Elan Valley, so that in the driest 
season large locks could be assured uniform and sufficient depth, 
the cost of improvement — at such an elevation and in such a densely 
populated and deeply undermined area — would be so great that an 
improved Grand Junction Canal could not afford to go through the 
Black Country. 

Obviously, under such conditions, development depends on 
railway transport, and this controls local industries in two directions. 
In the first place, such districts must specialise in goods which 
demand much labour for little raw material, e.g. pins, pens, needles, 

XVI British Isles 247 

screws, watch-springs, etc. ; and in the second place, amongst such 
there must be specifically transport media — from bicycles to railway 
stock. Apart from such neighbouring centres as Coventry and 
Wolverhampton, at least three suburbs of Birmingham — Handsworth, 
Oldbury, and Saltley — have a world-wide reputation for the pro- 
duction of railway rolling-stock. Firms wishing to do typically 
" heavy " work for other purposes than transport have recently been 
migrating, e.g. to Newport and Pontypool. Of course, early canals 
and railways made Birmingham their objective, because its essen- 
tially central position had already raised it into a very important 
transport centre — associated with horse transport ; and it was this 
question of the transport medium that — coupled with the presence 
of fine casting-sand — gave the district its original industry in 
iron -castings for harness (cf. the important harness industry of 

In the case of Sheffield the local advantages included crucible- Sheffield. 
clay and water-power, but the determining factor was the presence 
of fine grinding-stone, which directed the local energies into cutlery 
and so predestined them to import of fine iron and specialisation in 
steel. "Birmingham" ore ^ yields only 35-36 p.c. of metal, with 
1-07 p.c. of phosphorus, and -04 p.c. of sulphur; the Furness 
hematite, though yielding 66-67 P-C- of metal, practically free from 
sulphur and phosphorus, was less accessible than Scandinavia from 
Sheffield even in Plantagenet times ; even now quantities of pig-iron 
are produced in the " SheflSeld " area, e.g. at Rotherham and 
Chesterfield, to which the blast-furnaces were removed 150 years 
ago, and fully 95 p.c. is used at home — but not by Sheffield. 

On the Sheaf and the Don only steel is used, made of Swedish Sheaf k. 
or Spanish and Cumbrian iron. Along the Sheaf there are many ^°"' 
crucible steel makers, the "descendants" of the old cutlers, still 
engaged in light products and still using Scandinavian metal ; and 
along the navigable Don there are many makers of heavy products 
{e.g. armour plates), but using for their new work the newer sources 
of supply from Furness and Spain. As everything except the fuel 
has to bear transport, mainly by rail, the determining factor here is 
the human one. Not only is the weight of material used trivial 
compared with the labour spent on it, as at Birmingham, but 
centuries of experience have bred in both masters and men an 
instinct which no theoretical knowledge can hope to rival. For the 
men can " divine " by the eye the quality of a piece of metal — 
which metallurgical analysis can only confirm — or the amount of 
smoke necessary ^ in a flame for reheating steel — which no 
mechanical process yet invented can decide ; and the masters seem 
to have a similar genius for seizing on new ideas or new methods, 

^ The corresponding percentages for Cleveland are 33-34, i'24, and •03. 
^ The amount, unfortunately, is not favourable to amenities of climate. 


The Continent of Europe 


e.g. the Bessemer and Siemens patents or the driving of machinery 
by electricity. 

To the south-east and north-east of the great steel centre are two 
areas which again present interesting contrasts. The agricultural 
belt was bound to develop industries in agricultural machinery at 
such places as Lincoln and Grantham, Ipswich and Colchester ; and 
the cheapness and abundance of labour — and that, too, unorganised 
— were favourable to the extension of such industries where special 
facilities existed for access to fuel and metal, as the tin-plate 

Isthmian canal routes. 

Sian/vrdt ^eoyJ' SsiaiS; ZojtdarU' 

industry of South Wales has been supplemented by industries in 
galvanised and corrugated iron. And, no doubt, the opening of the 
Doncaster coal-field and the local supplies of iron-ore, e.g. at 
Frodingham, will develop the industry in Lincolnshire. 
Cleveland In the north-east the industry is based partly on the Cleveland 

K.Durham, ore, which yields over 40 p.c. (6,000,000 tons) of the total output 
of the country, but mainly on the Durham coke. For the Cleveland 
ore is getting poorer in percentage of metal, and more costly to work 
in other ways too ; but the Durham coke possesses precisely those 
mechanical qualities ^ required in fuel for modern blast-furnaces, 

^ The "splint " coal of Lanarkshire has somewhat the same value to Coatbridge 
and Motherwell. 

XVI British Isles 249 

being large enough not to choke the furnaces and strong enough to 
bear great weight of ore. This, of course, is another asset for 
Newcastle ; and it is the sum of advantages concentrated there that 
favours the construction of a great ship-canal from the Tyne to the 

Such a canal would not only shorten the distance between our 
great west-coast ports and the Baltic by 300 miles or so, but would 
enable a fleet to be concentrated with maximum ease and safety at 
the very centre of our North-Sea coast, and that, too, where there 
are exceptional facilities for repairs, etc. An alternative route would 
join the Forth and Clyde, possibly via Loch Lomond ; it would have 
the same commercial advantages, e.g. the avoidance of the stormy 
and crowded Pentland Firth or the foggy and still more crowded 
Dover Strait, and its only inferiority strategically would be that the 
repairing base would be on the west coast. In neither case is the. 
difficulty or the expense prohibitive. 



The geographical interest of Belgium is mainly historical and 
economic, but its geographical importance is mainly political ; for 
it is as a Buffer State that it has any national existence at all, and 
it illustrates nearly all the characteristic phenomena of a Buffer 
State, especially the difficulties. Even such a trivial detail as the 
printing of a railway ticket becomes significant, for it is printed 
in two languages ; and one of the two is always '* foreign," French 
in the west and German in the east.^ That is to say, it does not 
represent the Belgians as a nation, nor the commercial part of the 
population, which is made Flemish by Antwerp, nor yet the 
industrial part, which is made Walloon by the Mons-Li^ge coal-field ; 
it does represent one of the two great political antagonists between 
whom Belgium is a Buffer State. 

It has been pointed out, too, that Belgium is an area of 
geographic, as well as of political, transition, e.g. its great rivers 
both rising and emptying beyond the Belgian frontier. Its frontiers 
are, except on the sea-coast, far from being well-marked physical 
features ; its surface features and even its mineral beds are largely 
extensions from other countries ; its peoples and languages are 
equally transitional, for the " Latin " Walloon stands between the 
Romance tongue of western Switzerland and the Romance tongue 
of northern France, while Flemish bears a similar relationship to 
Dutch and Deutsch ; and its political history ^ has been largely the 
history of other countries, France and Holland, Spain and Austria. 

The frontier features are very varied, and some of their details 
are peculiarly significant. For instance, the Franco-Belgian frontier 
is a lasting memento of the many wars between France and Spain, 
when peace was often purchased at the cost of some choice bit of 
Spanish Belgium, e.g. the "bay" of Lille, with its river-frontier on 
the Lys, or the somewhat similar " bay " of Valenciennes. So, the 
extension of the French frontier down the Meuse valley as far as 

^ The internal racial division is latitudinal, not longitudinal, the north (of 
Waterloo) being Flemish and the south being Walloon. 

' Cf. the battlefields of Fontenoy and Jemappes, Oudenarde and Raraillies, 
Ligny and Quatre Bras, etc. 


CH. XVII Belgium 251 

the natural fortress of Givet has an obvious strategic value ; but, 
as a matter of fact, except in crossing the deep narrow valley of 
the river itself and of its Semois tributary, the course of the actual 
frontier eastward of the Sambre adheres fairly well to a line of 
maximum elevation and minimum population. 

The same is true of the frontier towards Luxemburg and Eastern 
Germany, which is roughly marked by the water-parting between Frontier, 
the Semois and the Sauer in the south and that between the Ourthe 
and the Roer in the north, though the difficulty of drawing a line 
through the densely populated mining (lead and zinc) area in the 
heart of the Moresnet commune has led to the defining of a neutral 
zone held in common by Belgium and Prussia; but directly the 
Ardennes plateau is left for the Meuse lowland minimum population 
has no obvious relation to "maximum" elevation. Here three 
things are significant — the Meuse, the Mesopotamian, and the 
marine lines respectively. On the primitive river - frontier the 
significant feature is the detour to disconnect Maastricht, as it were, 
from the left bank of the river — on which it actually stands — and 
to perpetuate its historic connection with the right bank. This is 
the point at which the river Geer joins the Meuse, and on which, 
therefore, in very early times it directed the " Rhine " overland 
traffic (for London via Ghent and Bruges) ; the confluence is just 
below the great sandstone block of Pietersberg, which was worked 
by the Romans, and which provided material for castle and bridge 
at this " Maas-traject " (" crossing-place," first by ford and then by 
bridge) ; and the only guarantee of a safe crossing was to hold the 
farther, i.e. the western, bank. Incidentally, this was associated in 
sentiment with the " Dutch " refugees from the political and religious 
tyranny of Spain, because the subterranean labyrinths in the quarries 
became a recognised refuge for both man and beast. 

The Mesopotamian line is a meandering compromise between Northern 
two similar considerations : it was necessary to avoid the great Frontier, 
arteries of movement, whether by river or road ; and the overland 
route led by the Demer-Dyle-Senne valley, while the dreariest 
and most desolate areas, e.g. central Limburg, were almost bound 
to have the least population, even if they had not also been — 
previous to the cutting of the S. William's and Campine canals — 
devoid of natural highways. 

The marine line represents a determined effort to exclude the 
weaker partner from the polders and tidal water, and it is profoundly 
significant of the fundamental causes which separated Holland from 
Belgium in 1830. For, though the Belgian population {c. 3,500,000) 
was almost double that of Holland, and French in sympathy and 
Roman in creed, the King was a Dutch Calvinist, the capital was- 
in Holland, representation was so unequal that the Dutch minority 
had a permanent majority for all important legislation, and official 

252 The Continent of Europe CH. 

posts were monopolised by Dutchmen, only one minister out of 
seven being Belgian in 1830. 

Coast. The one stretch of sea-coast left to Belgium had a minimum 

value, except as an obstacle to invasion, for its shore-waters are 
shallow and the coast-line consists of typical sand-dunes. Indeed, 
the sands slope so gradually that the regular winds have thrown 
up a natural barrier of dunes, but for which — supplemented now 
by artificial " dykes " — the land would be submerged at every tide ; 
and it is to this that the coast owes its popularity as a bathing- 
resort. Of course, gaps have been left for drainage — one at each 
end and one in the centre. The estuary of the Yser offers a site 
for a fishing-port at Nieuport, — the " Old Port " of Ypres being 
now 20 miles inland ; the central gap obviously commands mail 
and passenger traflic for Brussels and the busiest fish trade, and 
the packet-station of Ost-end was naturally placed as far as possible 
inland, i.e. on the " East End " of the gap, thus increasing the 
facilities offered by the good railway service for the distribution of 
fish ; the northern gap, at the fishing-port of Heyst, has been made 
the terminus of a ship-canal from Bruges, and its new harbour is 
now known as Zee-Brugge. 

Zee- Much care and money have been expended on this new port, 

Brugge, and many advantages have been claimed for it, e.g. that it is entirely 
Belgian, — that the port itself, the canal, and the Bruges basin, 
all have a minimum depth of fully 26 feet, — that it is on or very 
near the greatest steamer-routes of Northern Europe, — that three 
great express railway routes converge on Bruges (from Berlin, 
Vienna, and Basel), ^that the canal is only one-fifth of the length 
of the Scheldt below Antwerp. But the eventual survival of the 
port, let alone its success, is very doubtful. Its natural hinterland 
is small in both population and area ; and the fundamental difficulty 
which even in the palmiest days of Bruges necessitated an out-port 
at Damme, and which by 1488 had caused all foreign merchants 
to move their headquarters to Antwerp, is still operative. 

Silt. That difficulty was the superiority of the mighty Scheldt over 

the little Zwin, not only in such obvious commercial advantages as 
length and volume, but also in its consequent power of pouring 
out silt. The success of efforts to reclaim land in the "West" 
Scheldt estuary, i.e. the rapidity of the historic narrowing of the 
waterway, is the best proof of the difficulties which faced ports on 
the old margin of the waterway. Bruges is " La Morte " ; the 
battlefield of Sluis is a meadow ; and half a dozen dredgers (c. 
30,000 horse-power), at a cost of ^20,000 a year, have failed to 
maintain that 26 feet at Zee-Brugge over an area with a diameter 
equal to the normal length of modern merchant vessels. It is 
obviously useless for a large vessel to come alongside a quay if 
she cannot turn round there and get away again ! 




The historical development of Antwerp has been rather Antwerp. 
chequered, mainly because its economic importance, as based on 
the river, was kept subordinate to its political importance, as based 
on the strategic value of the marshes which for centuries surrounded 


Land area before 12th century. 


Q Bruges 

Emery Walker sc. 

Land area at present day. 

it ; but its indisputable popularity with " skippers " is based on its 
essential commercial advantages, and several of these are obvious. 
Fully 50 miles from Flushing, it is absolutely safe from storms — 
though it was the work of storms in opening the estuary in the 
fifteenth century that gave it its first chance — and yet has tides that 


The Continent of Europe 


Antwerp and its forts. 

bring up the largest vessels ; it is as near as London to the centre 
of the world's ocean highways, and nearer than London to the great 
network of railways and canals that converge on the Atlantic from 
central and northern Europe ; and it is exceedingly cheap. The 

result is a popularity which has actu- 
ally outpaced accommodation, so that 
there is now often risk of delay or 
confusion, especially during fogs — the 
one real drawback to the harbour ; 
but extra accommodation can be 
secured, and is already projected, by 
a scheme which will not only get rid 
of the angle at Austenweel {i.e. just 
opposite the north end of the city), 
with its capacity for accumulating 
silt, but also give a continuous concave quay on a wide-radius 
curve such as makes an ideal frontage for a tidal river. 
Surface. The surface is partly plateau and partly plain, with a general 

slope from the south-east (over 2000 feet) to north-west, the two 
areas corresponding strikingly with the basins of the Scheldt and 
the Meuse. In Flanders there is a large area of polder, at little 
above sea-level, which is valuable pasture, famous for its horses ; 
the south of Hainault and most of Brabant, at a height of 300-500 
feet, is fine agricultural land, with a chalk ridge separating the 
Scheldt and Meuse basins ; the Sambre-Meuse valley is flanked 
southwards by uplands averaging perhaps 800-900 feet, the 
picturesque Famenne and Fagnes ; and the forested plateau of the 
Ardennes varies from 1200 to 2000 feet. It is peculiarly interesting 
that the physical division is directly paralleled by, and associated with, 
the racial division. Where the primitive rock of the Ardennes plateau 
gives place to the young strata of the Flemish plain, there the short, 
dark, round-headed Walloon gives place to the taller, fairer, long- 
headed Fleming; there, too, the French-speaking and individualistic 
peasant-proprietor gives place to the tenant-farmer who tolerates no 
tongue akin to that of the accursed Spaniards, once the tyrants of the 
plain. In view of historic events, therefore, it is surprising that the 
one bond of unity for this dual little people is found in their creed. 
Plain. The plain is practically the basin of the Scheldt, so that it 

naturally gravitates on Antwerp ; and it is ribbed with undulations 
which collect the abundant water in tributaries that flow more or 
less parallel with one another before converging on the Scheldt, 
thus creating a waterway out of all proportion to the length of the 
river (270 miles). Except for the marshy north and a somewhat 
sandy centre, most of the basin is distinctly fertile, especially 
towards the south-east, and grows a great variety of crops, about 
a quarter of it giving two crops a year. 

XVII Belgium 255 

The real dividing line between Upper and Lower Belgium is the Meuse 
Sambre-Meuse valley, equally important by relief and by structure. Valley 
Fertilised from the limestone and other young rock that flanks the 
old hard rock of the Ardennes, rich in coal and iron, and giving a 
line of least resistance in peace or war, it divides the nearly un- 
disturbed Tertiary and cretaceous beds which cover the plain, from 
the worn-down stumps of the ancient mountains to the south, the 
coal being found where the younger strata are involved in the 
relics of the ancient folds. This is obviously along the northern 
foot of the Ardennes, where the Sambre-Meuse has worn a trough 
along the geological fault ; and the scarp of the old rock is 
characteristically rich in metals, especially znc, between Huy and 

The coal occurs in three basins, separated by intrusions of the Coal- 
older rock. The most important is the " Meuse " field which Fields, 
stretches from Namur to Li^ge : but the " Sambre " field contains 
the chief coal-mining centre, Charleroi, and the " Hainault " field 
has a very important centre in Mons. Coal is found as far south 
as Dinant ; and recently a new coal-field has been discovered in the 
north, the Campine, which seems to stretch as far west as Antwerp 
— another asset for the port. The strata in the south are much 
disturbed and contorted, with the result that the seams are thin, 
discontinuous, and at very high angles. This almost implies that 
the mines must be difficult to drain and very deep — which is actually 
the case : and, therefore, the working is dangerous and expensive. 

The climate approximates to that of East Anglia, but has Climate. 
slightly greater extremes, the winter in the Ardennes being distinctly 
severe. The rainfall, too, is heaviest on the Ardennes ; but there 
are two clearly marked and parallel belts of heavy rainfall, separated 
by a wide belt of much lighter fall. The one is an area of mainly 
cyclonic rains in Flanders, eastwards of the dunes ; and the other 
is where the cyclonic fall is more obviously accentuated by relief, i.e. 
east of the Sambre-Maas trough. 

The river-system is exceedingly useful, providing valuable Eiver- 
waterways and water of first-rate quality for retting, bleaching. System, 
dyeing, etc. ; and it is scarcely an exaggeration to say that the dense 
population of the country (650 per square mile) is based essentially 
on the development of the inland waterways. The fundamental 
advantage is that a small area {c. 11,400 square miles), forming 
practically the basin of a single river, is flanked by two concave 
curves of waterway, a sea flank from Nieuport to Antwerp and the 
river flank of the Sambre-Meuse between Mons and Maastricht. 
This was made the basis of a network of additional waterway — 
canalised rivers and canals — which is worked at a considerable 
annual loss, but which has enabled Belgium to meet the fierce 
competition of Holland, Germany, and France (cf. p. 212). 


The Continent of Europe 


Canals : 





The whole system has its morphological, if not its geometrical, 
centre in Antwerp ; and it may be divided into two areas by the 
great route from Antwerp to Charleroi via the canalised Rupel and 
Brussels, which is reached by small ocean steamers {e.g. from 
London). The western area, besides having direct communication 
with the sea, e.g. at Heyst, Ostend, Nieuport, and with Holland, e.g. 
at Terneuzen and via the Lower Scheldt, has at least seven good 
routes into France, the best being by Termonde and the canalised 
Dender, by Charleroi and the canalised Sambre, and by the Mons- 
Conde canal. The last is the most useful for the export of coal, 
because at certain seasons of the year all the Sambre, like the 
Upper Meuse, is difficult to navigate ; and the least useful in some 
ways is the canalised Lys, because during the retting season (whole 
summer) no steam traffic is allowed on it. 

The eastern area has a much smaller proportion of waterway, 
but has one very important feature, i.e. that the main line forms a 
continuous ring — Antwerp, Brussels, Charleroi, Namur, Li^ge 
(Maastricht), Turnhout, Antwerp — serving both the old Brabant 
and the new Campine coal-fields, and enclosing the most fertile 
area in Belgium, i.e. the Hesbage plain round Waremme. This 
communicates with Holland towards the north (for Bois-le-Duc) as 
well as at Maastricht, and has the same sort of competition from the 
Rhine as the Flemish canals have from the sea. For large barges 
(carrying fully 1500 tons) ply regularly from Antwerp, via Dordrecht 
and the Waal, to Cologne and Mannheim, reaching the latter within 
a week ; and in summer they ply even to Strassburg, which needs 
another week. 

The total length of inland waterway in the whole area (not = 
twice Yorkshire) is well over 1200 miles, which gives an average of 
I mile of waterway to every 9 square miles of surface ; and this is 
supplemented so well by railways {c. 3000 miles) for quick transport 
and by light railways {c. 3000 miles) for agricultural development, 
that 7,000,000 tons of goods converge on Antwerp every year by 
inland waterways, and there is a total transit trade through the 
country valued (1910) at about ;;^9 1,500,000 ! 

The waterway between the heart of the coal-field at Charleroi 
and the great port of Antwerp roughly divides the country into two 
industrial areas, the western one being prominently concerned with 
textiles and the eastern with hardware, thus complicating the 
friction of racial and linguistic differences ; and while the Flemish 
plain is much less picturesque than the forested Ardennes, it has 
much more historic interest. 

The alluvial soil and the damp climate of West Flanders are 
very favourable to the growing of flax, and the price of labour is not 
prohibitive, while the absence of " salts " from the river-water is 
invaluable in the " cleansing " of the fibre. The Lys above 

XVII Belgium 257 

Courtrai is the special scene of the flax retting ; and Courtrai itself 
and its neighbours, especially Oudenarde ^ and Tournai, are 
engaged in the linen industry. But the great spinning centre — for 
hemp and cotton as well as flax — is in the higher humidity of the 
Lys-Scheldt confluence ; and this site, at about equal distances from 
the three great lace-making centres of Bruges, Brussels, and 
Mechlin, and at the limit of tide on the Scheldt, has made Ghent 
the textile metropolis of Belgium. 

The decay of the old historic cities, Bruges and Ypres, was "Dead" 
mainly due to the silting up of their waterways, accelerated by Towns, 
neglect of them during times of constant war — civil and otherwise ; 
but there were other causes at work. For instance, the Orient trade 
had been diverted from the Rhine valley to the Atlantic ; this gave 
special advantages to the better harbours of Rotterdam and 
Amsterdam ; and, in any case, the Flemish trade had been carried 
by Hanseatic rather than by Flemish vessels. It was the in- 
heritance of Roman civilisation that gave Flanders its first 
start ; it was the revolt against the Roman Church that gave the 
Flemish ports their most formidable rivals ; and the most 
prosperous of all the old Flemish centres, Lille, is now outside the 
frontier of Flanders. 

Once access to the sea had to be sought northward, not west- Brabant, 
ward, Brabant was bound to flourish at the expense of Flanders ; 
Antwerp became the obvious sea-gate of the country; and sites 
commanding the approach on Antwerp from landward at once 
became important. The natural approaches were by the Dyle 
valley or the Senne valley. The Romans seem to have built the 
first castle on the hill beside the Dyle that made Louvain a good 
site for the capital of the Brabant dukes ; but the island in the 
Senne at the foot of the "hill" country (cf. p. 254) gave a better 
relation to the great War -and -Trade route of the Sambre-Meuse 
valley, besides holding the balance between Bruges and Li^ge, the 
Rhine and the Ardennes, and so Brussels displaced Louvain as the 
ultimate site for a capital. Both cities, like Mechlin, were interested 
in the early import of English 2 wool via Antwerp ; but Mechlin, 
still the ecclesiastical capital of Belgium, was not only nearer the 
port, but also commanded the approaches both of the Dyle and of 
the Senne. 

Eventually, the balance of power was not a question between Liege. 
east and west, but between north and south, the great port and 
the coal-field, with the language-line marked by Waterloo except 
for the French "island" of Brussels; and the coal-field had the 
advantage of imposing an economic importance on a previous 

^ The first workmen for the Gobelin tapestries came from Oudenarde. 
2 Tournai is one of the few old towns, originally dependent on local wool, that 
still maintains an important woollen industry (carpets). 



The Continent of Europe 



Belgian v. 

strategic importance. Long before the mineral wealth was of any 
importance, the convergence of the Vesdre and the Ourthe valleys 
on the narrow Meuse valley — at the precise point where the 
Meuse works suddenly away from, i.e. north-west of, the historic 
line of movement between Arras and Aix-la-Chapelle, — had made 
the site of Liege of very great political and strategic importance ; 
and other influences were focused there as the eastern outpost of 
French civilisation. With the development of the mineral 
wealth, it had also exceptional advantages. Iron and lime- 
stone were found almost throughout the whole lie of the coal 
{c. I GO miles) ; and to the east, where the coal was nearest to the 
surface, there were lead and copper as well as one of the richest zinc 
areas on the face of the earth. And before the local supplies were 
exhausted, as they practically are now — not i per cent of the iron- 
ore being " domestic " (1910) — the Seraing suburb of Li^ge had 
come to rank with Essen and Creuzot as a metallurgical centre, and 
had access to a system of inland waterways second only to, and 
copied from, that of their Dutch neighbours. 

The zinc deposits were also near old historic towns, Huy and 
Verviers — the former where the valleys of tributaries to opposite 
banks of the Meuse have carried a great north-and-south road for 
over a thousand years, and the latter on the flank of the direct road 
from Aix to Li^ge. South of the Huy- Verviers line the Ardennes 
highland makes the best sheep-rearing area in Belgium ; and all 
these towns began their career when wool was much the most 
important textile in use in Europe, and when the only other of any 
practical importance was flax. Verviers still has a large woollen 
industry, especially in washed wool and yarn ; and the special 
advantage of the site is that the Gileppe tributary of the Vesdre flows 
over only slate and sandstone, and so its water is peculiarly free 
from lime and other impurities. To guarantee a constant supply 
a huge dam was built across the valley, which is kept heavily 
timbered to economise the rainfall. 

As the progress of the hardware industry in Belgium has been 
partly at the expense of that in England {e.g. Libge guns v. Birmingham 
guns) — quite apart from any question of the colourable, if not fraudu- 
lent, imitation of trade-marks, etc. — and as the Belgian conditions in 
themselves are by no means wholly favourable, it is worth while 
examining the question a little further. For instance, there are obvious 
reasons for traffic by rail or river or canal following what is at once 
a direct east-and-west route and a natural depression along the 
northern foot of the Ardennes highland, and the only one wide 
enough to carry road and rail, river and canal ; but there is no 
obvious geographical reason for westward traffic going to Antwerp 
instead of Rotterdam, unless the former is the cheaper. 

Now the Belgian coal has been worked for a long time, it is 

XVII Belgium 259 

quite limited in area, it is only found now at great depths — except Coal v. 
in the new Campine field, t.e. along 51° N. — it lies in very narrow 'Wages, 
seams and in distorted strata, necessitating much unproductive 
work, and it is liable to violent discharges of firedamp, which hampers 
the use of explosives, etc. ; and the development of it has, 
therefore, involved incessant care and skill, — qualities which have 
become quite characteristic of the Belgian miners — and has been 
"expensive." Till lately, however, no fiscal or other barrier has 
been raised to the import of coal because of the recognised necessity 
of keeping a cheap basis of industry. The position could only be 
met by very low wages and long hours of work — a possible 
solution where the standard of comfort has been measured by 
"black bread"; and it is almost entirely this that gives Belgian 
goods advantage over British. For instance, at the present time 
about p^soo more is paid as wages in the construction of a British 
locomotive than in the construction of a Belgian one of exactly 
similar type ; turners in Belgium are content with ^^d. an hour, 
and fitters with 5d. ; and in most other industries common to the 
two countries, 4.^6. an hour in Belgium corresponds to 9|d. an 
hour in Britain. Only the superior workmanship of the British 
mechanic and the entire absence of slackness on the part of 
British manufacturers have saved the situation so far. 

Cheap labour, therefore, is the most significant feature in the Home 
typical industries of Belgium, e.g. the glass of Mons and Liege ; Supplies, 
and perhaps the next most important feature is the variety of the 
home products, especially those dependent on agriculture. Two- 
thirds of the area is cultivated, mostly in small holdings and by the 
spade; and nearly a quarter of the population {c. 7,400,000) is 
occupied in agriculture. Oats are grown on the rainy highland, 
rye in the sandy centre, and wheat on the Hesbage limestone ; 
Flanders is famous for its horses and cattle, and grows the finest 
flax in the world, as well as tobacco and chicory, potatoes and 
flowers (especially azaleas and orchids, near Ghent). So, the clay 
of the northern plain makes as good bricks, e.g. at Turnhout, as its 
peat makes good fuel for the Campine dairies ; and, besides the 
minerals already referred to, the Ardennes highland is rich in good 
stone, e.g. the " Dinant " marble.^ 

The dense population can, therefore, draw much food and raw imports 
materials from the highly-cultivated small holdings of their own ^^^ 
country, from fenny plain or forested highland ; but they are *'^P°"'^- 
mainly dependent on imports for both food and raw materials, 
partly because it is profitable to export, e.g. their very fine flax, and 
to import Russian flax for the Courtrai mills. And it is typical 
that the most important imports should be akin to those products 

^ The Lesse valley is famous for all kinds of limestone products and phenomena, 
e.g. the Grotto of Hans. 

26o The Continent of Europe ch. x\ ii 

which are, or have been, the main domestic sources of the 
country's wealth. Much the lai^est imports in quantity are (191 1) 
coal {c 7,350,000 tons) and iron {c. 5,680,000 tons), while the most 
valuable import, except wheat, is wool (c ;;^i 5,300,000). At the 
same time the largest export is also coal (^. 5,000,000 tons), and much 
the most valuable is wool (c. ;;^i 4,000,000), wheat coming second. 
Costomsn. As wheat is such an important import, in both quantity 
and value, Belgium has naturally a busy trade with such a 
rising exporter of wheat and wool as Argentina ; but more than 
half her wheat comes from Eastern Europe, and most of her wool 
comes from France. Indeed, the closeness of her links with her 
immediate neighbours is seen in the fact that about 70 p.c. of her 
exports go to four countries — Germany (26 p-c), France (2 1 p.c.), 
Britain (13 p.c), Holland (10 p.c). 


The Town. The sovereign Grand-Duchy of Luxemburg grew up round the 

river-girt crag and town of Liitzel-burg (" Little Castle "), which 
became an important fortress as early as the days of Otto the Great, 
and came to be considered not only very like Gibraltar, e.g. in its 
rock galleries, but also as the next strongest fortress in Europe. 

rhe Land. The hilly surface of Ardennes spurs and Lorraine plateau drain 

by the fertile valleys of Sauer and Moselle into Germany, while the 
iKirren and sparsely-peopled north makes a natural frontier towards 
Belgium ; and so after Waterloo the area became part of the German 
Confederation, thus entering the ZoUverein, to which it still belongs. 
It is mainly pastoral, and has busy tanneries and glove factories in 
the Alzette valley ; but the great wealth of the land is in the ex- 
treme south, where the Moselle valley grows excellent wine, and 
where the Lorraine plateau is extremely rich in iron-ore, especially 
round Esch. Though the mass of the people speak a Low-German 
patois mixed with Walloon, the business community speaks mainly 
the French tongue of Lonaine. 



Holland, like Switzerland, is one of those political units the 
position of which can scarcely be considered apart from the *'*•*'- 
physique. For, if Holland is compared with other areas which are 
low and level, or which have very good or very iKid access to the 
sea, or which have serious problems of irrigation or of drainage, 
everything else sinks into insignificance beside the two considerations 
— (i) that, in physique and climate, it is a temperate delta, and (2) 
that, pohtically, it is a Buffer State. And these two are funda- 
mentally related, because the delta is that of the greatest German 
river — the Germans are the more numerous, the stronger, and the 
more aggressive, of the two nations between which the Belgo-Dutch 
" Buffer " is thought necessary — and it is precisely Holland that 
blocks the expansion of Germany seaward. 

The very existence of the delta depends on the position of the The Delta. 
area at a comer of an ocean " pocket " where tidal crest and trough 
so far neutralise each other as to allow the deposit of deltaic silt ; 
but it is only where the coast-line Ues more or less due north and 
south, z>. in Holland proper, that it is continuous. Where it lies 
more or less east and west, as in Friesland and Zeeland, it is 
incomplete and discontinuous. The Frisian and Zeeland islands, 
therefore, helped to isolate the central nucleus; and this was 
greatly emphasised by the marshy character both of the coast-line 
itself and of the Ems basin which forms its natural limit eastwards. 

The dominant influence seaward has been that of wind, and it Sand- 
is shown in the characteristic sand-dunea These do not usually dimes, 
reach a height of more than 30 feet, but in the centre of the 
continuous coast-line, e.g. near Haarlem, they reach 200 feet ; and 
they tend to widen northwards, i.e. with increase of width in the sea 
over which the winds blow, especially in summer (cf. p. 56), the 
maximum near Alkmaar being considerably over two miles. 
Their extension now is controlled by the planting of bent-grass, 
etc., the long roots of which so bind the sand that it can no longer 
drift landward; but some of the most famous Dutch bathing- 



The Continent of Europe 


Arms of 

centres, e.g. Scheveningen, owe their importance to migration of the 
dunes landward within historic times. 
Dune and The whole coast, then, alike on the islands and on the main- 

Beach, land,^ consists of a " double " line of beach and dune, the broad and 
sandy beach sloping very gently under the sea, while the dunes 
have a very steep seaward face, due to the erosion of tide or wind 
or both. The dunes themselves are obviously porous and dry, 
but drain into marshy depressions ; and they thus offered sites 
for early settlement, with conditions to leeward favourable to the 
growth of timber or to reclamation for agricultural or pastoral 
purposes. It was under such circumstances that the Hague — still 
famous for its park — and Leiden sprang into early importance ; 
ports such as Amsterdam and Flushing still procure drinking water 
from the dunes ; and the same control makes Haarlem equally 
famous for bleaching and dyeing, for brewing and bulb-raising. 

Where the coast has been deeply breached, as by the Zuider 
Zee and the Lauwers Zee, the inland seaboard is generally formed of 
marine clay at or below sea-level ; and it is here that the great need for 
dykes arises, there being nearly 200 miles of dykes round the Zuider 
Zee alone. These arms of the sea were actually made or greatly 
enlarged by storms in the thirteenth century ; and it seems to have 
been the very unfavourable weather at the same time that led to 
the sudden and final decay of the old Roman roads, e.g. in the 
Rhine valley. That is to say, the same cause which forced traffic 
on to waterways inland, provided sites such as those of Amsterdam 
and Zwolle with exceptional facilities for traffic on the larger 
waterway from retired and easily defended positions. In those 
days, too, Zwolle or Kampen was as safe as Amsterdam, because 
the Bourtanger morass had not been drained ; and the early 
influence of the ports landward may be gauged by the subsequent 
projection seaward of international frontier-lines in the valleys of 
the Vechte and the Rhine. Amsterdam was " built on herrings," 
and it was the marsh-land between the Zuider Zee and the Dollart 
that preserved the human type and the peculiar tongue of the 
"Free Frisians" in such marked purity (cf, p. 222). 
Deltaic I^^ the nature of things the delta of a large river is a thorough- 

Control, fare, giving access up the river and out to sea ; and in early times 
its importance varied with the smallness of the sea in front and 
the length of navigation on the river behind. It is also naturally 
an area of march, all the typical deposits of Rhine and Scheldt 
and Maas being below normal sea-level ; and the very existence of 
the delta implies a deposit of silt which must be constantly raising 
the beds of the rivers. The choking up of any one distributary, 
however, only led to the opening of others, until there was a perfect 

^ The dunes form only a single line, being absent on the mainland where it is 
fringed with islands. 

XVIII Holland 263 

network of channels ; and the natural foci must always have tended 
to be the corners of the A, i.e. the extreme seaward point of the north 
bank of the north branch at the Hook, — the similar site on the south 
shore of the most southerly island at Flushing, — and the landward 
apex of Dordrecht. Obviously, with the development of civilisation, 
the safer position on the shallower waters up the river would tend 
to decrease in importance ; and, in this case, Dordrecht had — 
before the year 147 1 — the additional advantage of being actually 
on the mainland. It was, therefore, the natural site for the capital 
of the Counts of Holland ; and it was from Dordrecht that the 
Declaration of Independence was issued in 1572. But the 
economic position was impaired by the disturbance which left it an 
island, and so involved trans-shipment for the mainland. 

Obviously, too, canals make the only " cheap " and practicable Canals, 
roads through natural marsh-land ; and many of the most important 
canals in Holland were originally natural waterways of some kind 
or other, e.g. a small stream or the distributary of a large river. 
They are also the safest kind of road in a Buffer State. Roads 
on piles would only have opened the door to invasion, whereas 
the opening of " doors " on canals had a precisely opposite result, 
as the French discovered in 1670; and the one danger — from 
frost — offered little help to invaders such as the Spaniards, who 
were certainly not expert skaters. It is peculiarly significant, 
therefore, that the senior branch of the Dutch Army should be the 
Engineers, and that they should have their headquarters at Utrecht, 
i.e. the farthest point eastward from which, at equal distances from 
Amsterdam and Dordrecht, the whole lowland can be flooded. 

The essential problems of the water-control are to arrest, to Drainage 
imprison, to lead off, especially in the islands of Zeeland ("Sea Problems. 
Land ") and the " hollow land " of Holland proper. The existence 
of the country depends on sea-dykes, and its prosperity depends 
on river-dykes. One-quarter of the land — practically all west of 
a line through Dordrecht and Utrecht — is actually below sea-level, 
and a considerable additional area is not one yard above sea-level, 
and would be submerged by any high tide if the dykes and dunes 
were removed ; and, therefore, not only are large sums spent on 
strengthening and extending the barriers, but stringent laws are 
passed against the destruction of birds (such as storks) which prey 
on burrowing animals. The vast expense is now being lightened, 
because artificial dunes form round the dykes, making them at 
once more effective and less costly to maintain ; the ravages of the 
pile-worm can be completely kept in check by electricity ; and 
experience has greatly improved the methods of reclamation. 

The first step in reclamation is to " impolder," i.e. dyke in and Impolder- 
then drain ; and the drainage is affected by natural or artificial ^"S- 
means according to the position and character of the land. For 


The Continent of Europe 


the western part of the country is distinctly lower than the eastern ; 
the former is low fen or sea clay, while the latter is sand and gravel 
with stretches of heath ; and the whole slopes down gently from 
the south-east — where the chalk hills of Limburg reach 1000 feet 
— to several feet below sea toward the north-west. As the surface 
of the clay in the north-west averages 14 feet below the Amsterdam 
" zero," the water has to be raised before it can be discharged ; and 
this has been greatly facilitated by the substitution of steam-power 
for wind-power — greatly to the disfigurement of the landscape, — 
and the greater regularity of the pumping engines has increased the 

tion of 

wiuuaj CMS. CO. 

Relief of Holland. 

value of the drainage canals for navigation. At the same time, the 
temporary storage of the drained water in basins, e.g. in Friesland, 
guarantees the polders absolutely from drought even in the driest 
parts of the country ; and it has led to a great development of butter- 
making in Friesland, the province producing about one-third of all the 
" factory " butter made in the country, i.e. one-fifth of the total output. 
The distribution of people is intimately associated with these 
schemes. Marsh-land must be drained before it can be lived on ; 
and, as the drainage is difficult and expensive, alternatives and 
compromises are sought. In Holland the alternatives are to live 
on the water in a barge, or to drain the minimum area, and simply 
cover that with houses. These are built of imported wood and 

XVIII Holland 265 

stone, and run naturally in thin lines along the narrow drained 
streets ; and when the houses stop, their places are taken by long 
lines of tall trees, whose roots help to bind together the friable 
edges of the raised causeway. To-day, therefore, the presence of 
Barge-life and the absence of what we mean by Village-life are alike 
typical of the area; while the historic pre-eminence of Flanders 
over Zeeland and Holland was based precisely on its greater 
suitability for settlement because of its higher level and drier soil. 

About one-tenth of the population live on barges ; and one Barge 
reason for the cheapness of barge-transport in Holland is because Trans- 
the barge is a house as well as a conveyance ; but such life is ^ 
purely nomad, and interferes so much with the proper care of 
children, e.g. attendance at school, that some 30,000 grow up as 
little better than beasts of burden on the tow-path. For the 
salvation of the children, they must have a fixed home on shore, 
which means that barge-life is doomed ; but barge-transport is an 
inevitable sequel to the site of Holland, as a great ocean-gate for 
the water-borne traffic of Central Europe. And, under such 
circumstances, the tendency in modern times is for all the traffic 
to concentrate on one or two great ports. 

The influence of this tendency is important. On the one hand, Uses of 
it has led to the extension of all the typical centres, e.g. Rotterdam, Canals. 
over the river-dyke on to the actual bank of the river ; on the other 
hand, it has decided the relation of the various waterways to their 
districts and to one another. Thus, amongst the sea -isles of 
Zeeland the canals connect inland towns with ports, e.g. Middelburg 
with Flushing ; in Holland proper they connect river-ports with the 
sea, as Rotterdam is connected with the North Sea by the New 
Waterway and Amsterdam by the North Sea Ship Canal ; away 
from the sea and the great rivers, they are themselves the main 
arteries of traffic ; in the drier parts of the country they are even 
used for irrigation, e.g. in Drente and Overysel. As the competition 
of Belgium and Germany came to be felt, rivers and canals in 
Holland became practically " free " ; and this again increased the 
tendency for traffic to move in the line of least resistance on a 
single great port. This line of least resistance is dictated by the 
Rhine itself, for the Rhine coast is coherent, while the Scheldt 
coast is incoherent ; and, while the Maas threads the straits of the 
South Holland archipelago, it also joins the Waal — at Gorkum — 
on its way to the Lek. The great focus, therefore, must be on the 
common mouth of Maas and Waal and Lek, where Rotterdam is 
the landward terminus of the great New Waterway. 

The obvious rivals are Antwerp and Amsterdam, The former, Antwerp 
as we have seen, has access with the Rhine by semi-artificial water- ^- hotter- 
ways, as Amsterdam has by the Merwede Canal ; and Antwerp not 
only got the start of the Dutch ports, but also commands the 


The Continent of Europe 


dam Y. 

Belief and 

Scheldt as well as the Rhine, and has the additional advantage of 
a large " heavy " traffic of its own from the Belgium coal-field. But 
as ocean rates for long distances are exactly the same to all these 
ports and their neighbours, imports in bulk take the most direct 
route, i.e. via Rotterdam ; and it is very significant that two-thirds 
of the imports at Rotterdam consist of ore, coal, and grain. Out- 
ward goods are much more general in character, and do not travel 
in ship-loads, so that they prefer Antwerp. 

Amsterdam, too, has historic links, e.g. with Dutch colonies ; 
but its two ship-canals, though neither is more than twenty years 
old, are scarcely equal to the newer vessels, and the pace over the 
Merwede Canal is so slow that the extra 15 miles of distance (over 
Rotterdam) to the upper Rhine really count as 50. The city 
retains, then, the partial monopoly of, e.g. tobacco and coffee in 
bulk by the North Sea Ship Canal (31 feet), but it has even less 
chance than Antwerp in the competition with Rotterdam for the 
real Rhine trade. It is almost true to say that the main value of 
the two canals is that they have made the Zuider Zee useless as a 
waterway, and therefore admit the possibility of its being drained 
and, reclaimed. At the same time, the city is a world-market of 
first rank — for colonial products; and 40 p.c. of the tonnage 
imported into Holland by sea for home use enters the country by 
the North Sea Canal. Indeed, so great is the national importance 
of the canal that steps are now being taken to deepen the Ijmuiden 
entrance to at least 40 feet.^ 

There is so little variety of relief that, in an area only twice 
the size of Yorkshire, there are 5000 miles of navigable river and 
canal ; and the small size and the uniformly low level minimise 
climatic variations. But marked differences of physical structure 
and distinct seasonal changes of climate give rise to some variety 
of landscape and considerable localisation of natural and cultivated 
vegetation. For instance, the most effective medium of precipitation 
is the line of sand hills, while we find the lowest levels of the 
whole country to leeward of them in the polders ; on the other 
hand, conditions tend less towards heavy rainfall, which scarcely 
exceeds 28 inches, than to high humidity, which is usually over 
80 p.c, and which is associated with constant mist in the 
more dusty parts of the country. Again, wide exposure gives 
greater extremes of temperature than, e.g. in East Anglia, — canal 
traffic being largely ice-borne in winter — and heavier rainfall than 
in, e.g. any other part of the Great European plain ; but the average 
temperature (50° F.) is essentially temperate, S.W. winds raising 
the temperature for nine months and N.W. winds lowering it for 
the three months of summer. 

* When the canal was originally opened (1896), the large locks at Ijmuiden 
were the largest in the world. 

XVIII Holland 267 

These conditions are reflected in the economic vegetation. The Economic 
minimum of waste land is in the west, and the maximum is in the Vegeta- 
east, reclaimed lands being won mainly from the sea in the one ^*"^ ' 
case and mainly from the barren heaths in the other. The heavy 
land makes admirable meadow, and raises also flax and wheat, 
while the light land raises rye and potatoes, and is being gradually 
planted with trees ; and cattle are as typical of the heavy lands in 
the west as sheep are of the heath-lands of the east. Rather more 
than one-third of the whole area is pasture, while rather more than 
one-quarter is cultivated, and another quarter is water or waste. 

The fundamental consideration is the cost of drainage. In the Pasture v. 
"Low Fens," where the foundation is clay, it is comparatively Tillage, 
easy and cheap to drain the top 15 or 16 inches ; and this is not 
only sufficient for cattle — though they may need to wear "blankets" 
— but produces a fine saltish grass which induces a large yield of 
milk. But for tillage it is necessary to drain at least twice, 
generally three times, as deep ; and the cost in many places is 
quite prohibitive. Agriculture, therefore, is relatively much more 
important in Gelderland and Brabant than in Holland and Zeeland ; 
and the slightly more continental climate eastward is an additional 
advantage, especially for the raising of cereals. Where the balance 
is held most evenly, as in Friesland and Groningen, there most pro- 
gress is being made, especially in market-gardening ; but the export 
goes rather to Germany via Delfzyl than westward via Harlingen. 

The horticulture of the west stands by itself, but it is significant Horticul- 
that the typical products are all of a bulbous kind and humble *"re- 
habit. The dunes supply the necessary sand, the pure water, and 
the protection from salt-bearing winds, which are the essential needs 
of the black peaty soil for the production of spring flowers ; and 
Haarlem is the most famous centre because it is far enough north 
to feel the climatic benefit of the Zuider Zee, and because it 
possesses an ideal site in other respects in the 70 square miles of 
the drained floor of its old lake. 

Civilisation comes from the sea, and therefore the standard of Standard 
comfort falls inland. The poorest and most backward elements in °^ ^°™- 
the population are in Drente and Overysel, in Brabant and Limburg. 
The cleanest and most independent are in the Frisian Islands, the 
home of De Ruyter and Van Tromp. The grimmest and harshest 
elements are the real Hollanders — the raisers of grass and ha}', 
butter and cheese, under the leaden skies of the dyked polders, 
the heroes of centuries of war against the grey North Sea. There 
is the clearest possible distinction between the " Free Frisians," the 
heroes of a hundred historic fights on the sea, and the dour 
Hollanders, who have fought an equally heroic and still unended 
war with the sea. There is a similarly clear distinction between the 
taller western people, with their red-tiled or rye-thatched houses of 


The Continent of Europe 


brick or wood, and the dwarfed eastern people, with their peat- 
roofed huts of raw clay. For it was only near the sea that — in 
earlier ages — the clay became the basis of industries, some of 
which, e.g. the clay pipes of Gouda and the earthenware of Delft, 
are still amongst the most prosperous of Dutch industries. 
Colonial The outward trend of the delta always promised colonial 

Empire, empire, still illustrated by the Dutch control of the coffee and 
cocoa, the sugar and tobacco trades ; and this was emphasised and 
accelerated by the need for maintaining a large fleet and the 
voluntary destruction of home supplies by the flooding of the 
country in the struggle for national independence. The precise 
direction of the colonial development was also wrapped up in the 
same problem, for it depended on the subjection of Portugal — after 
200 years of pre-eminence in geographical discovery — to the great 
enemy of Holland, Spain. It is still maintained because the 
Rhine, Maas, and Scheldt form the busiest network of waterways 
in Europe. Holland still has 36,000,000 colonial subjects, and 
perhaps only the Dutch could have coped successfully in early days 
with the river-floods and the shoaly seas of Sumatra and Java ; and 
Holland still collects colonial produce, and distributes it inwards. 
But the East Indian demand is small, and the local freedom of 
trade allows it to be met by direct imports from the cheapest 
sources, while political pressure practically compels, e.g., German 
exports to go by " national " routes, so that Dutch ports and 
steamers lack return cargoes. 
Political To this economic problem there is a very important political 

Sequel, sequel. In the days of wooden navies, when easy access to the 
sea and to Rhine-borne timber gave the Dutch their chance of 
Colonial empire, they were brought into special conflict with 
Imperial Spain ; and, when Continental empires rose in rivalry of 
the oceanic empires, access to the Rhine valley made these Delta 
people also a Buffer State. Still, where the land is most deltaic, i.e. 
Zeeland, there are two racial types, Dutch and Spanish ; and, where 
it is most continental, i.e. Limburg, there are two more, Flemish and 
German. But the vast improvement of land traffic in modern 
times, and the size and cost of modern navies, exclude from 
Naval Power a small State, especially if it is hampered by " deltaic " 
absence of coal and iron. And so there are diflficult political 
problems associated with this Buffer State delta. For the " habit 
of the sea" still counts for much, and the Dutch are the best 
sailors along the whole European coast between Brittany and 
Norway ; and these fine estuaries are safe for shipping, secure 
from naval attack, and easily linked to Europe. This seaboard is, 
therefore, becoming of enormous political importance now that 
the centre of naval strategy has moved from Cape St. Vincent to 
the Dogger, i.e. from a point commanding the relations of the 

XVIII Holland 269 

Atlantic and the Mediterranean to one commanding the relations 
of the North Sea and the Baltic. 

Under such circumstances it was not surprising that Western Dutch 
Europe was somewhat disturbed by the recent Dutch Defence Bill, Defence 
providing for a remarkable strengthening of the seaward defences 
and ignoring the gross and admitted deficiencies of the landward 
defences. The difficulty in the latter case was the systematic 
assertion in recent years by German strategists that " Germany 
may find herself compelled, for military reasons, to disregard the 
neutrality of Belgium." The difficulty in the former case was the 
extraordinary natural strength of Holland seaward. Holland lies 
on the flank of any naval movement between the Elbe and the 
Thames or the Seine and on the flank of any military movement 
across Belgium. Naval attack on Holland itself is inconceivable. 
Across the Zuider Zee it could only be conducted by boats drawing 
less than lo feet of water, which no doubt justifies replacing the 
Helder, as a naval port, by Ijmuiden or the Hook ; the coast from 
the Texel to the Hook has a shelving foreshore, which would greatly 
hamper disembarkation ; the Hollandsch Diep and Volkerak, like 
the West Scheldt, — quite apart from the forts of Helvoetsluys and 
Willemstad — are only suitable for vessels of the coast-defence type, 
such as are found in the Dutch Navy, and could not even be used 
as a naval base by vessels of the type now normal in the British and 
French navies. 

On the contrary, invasion of Holland from the land side would Landward 
seem to be perfectly simple. Only Holland proper and small Defence, 
portions of the adjacent provinces are protected at all ; and even 
this " Holland Fortress," as it is called, depends mainly on three 
lines of defences or prepared positions — those of the Ysel, the 
Grebbe Line from the Rhine to the Zuider Zee at Spankenburg, 
and a line joining Amsterdam to Gertruidenburg vz'a Naarden 
and Muiden, Utrecht and Gorkum. The great weapon relied on 
is inundation ; and, even if an enemy were to divert all river 
water from the Grebbe Line, it could be flooded by salt water from 
the Zuider Zee via Muiden. 

Smallness is typical of Buffer States, and is eminently Small 
characteristic of Holland. The land itself is very small, its Size, 
features are all in miniature, and its human products — except for 
the Free Frisians — are correspondingly diminutive. " It is a 
chessboard land, in which the average school-class numbers seven 
children ! " As its international position is also delicate, some of 
its political and economic phenomena are peculiarly interesting. 
For instance, the importance of the transit trade in foreign goods 
has involved a need for — which has developed into a gift for — 
learning foreign tongues and practising economic cosmopolitanism ; 
and these two considerations make Holland a most appropriate area 


The Continent of Europe 


for International Conferences of all kinds, political, religious, etc. 
On the other hand, politics are merely academic, much discussion 
about patriotism being as typical as the difficulty in recruiting 
soldiers ; the small physical horizon seems to be reflected in a 
small political horizon, and the most important political questions 
are of a parochial character. Again, the small size and the rich 
soil encourage spade labour ; but the high rent of reclaimed lands 
and severe agricultural competition depress wages, which means 
poor housing and under-feeding. Under such circumstances, the 
poorest agricultural workers are greatly attracted to the industries of 
Belgium and Germany, as the high pay offered to soldiers in 
Holland attracts adventurers from Belgium and Germany, thus 
causing some international friction — a typical phenomenon in a 
Buffer State — with two nations neither of whom relishes losing 
good soldiers. 
National The one great advantage of the geographical control is that 

Unity. gregarious instinct of a dense population within a closely limited 
area, which cannot fail to draw out national feeling ; and this has 
been wonderfully intensified by the religious unity of the people 
and by their political history. Mixture of race is still reflected in 
differences of customs and costumes, of diet and dialect,^ but unity 
of control has ruled out all vital differences. Unfortunately this 
control has been associated so largely with barge-life and constant 
fog that it has over-emphasised every tendency to caution and 
deliberation — in word and deed — already emphasised by a delicate 
international position ; and the greatest political failing of the 
people is the habit of thinking too slowly and acting too late. It 
is, no doubt, the same influence that makes them still live mentally 
in the days of Rembrandt and Erasmus, De Ruyter and Van Tromp, 
all natives of the misty islands and the hollow lands for which they 
fought Spaniard and Pope and grey North Sea. 
Industries. The distribution of towns and industries, and the character of 
both, largely reflect these geographical conditions. For instance, 
though the polders raise a good type of horse in Friesland, their 
value is specially for cattle ; and dairy industries are specially suited 
to a country like Holland, with important colonies to attract its 
male population into commerce. The success of the dairy products 
in Holland is largely due to the care with which quality is guaranteed 
by " Control Stations " in all parts — Leiden and Goes, Eindhoven 
and Maastricht, Deventer and Assen, Groningen and Leeuwarden. 
Slightly easier access to salt and slightly slower changes of 
temperature make cheese rather more important than butter west 
of the Zuider Zee, e.g. at Edam and Gouda, so that Alkmaar is 
the great cheese market, while Groningen is the great butter market. 

^ The Hague and Rotterdam and Amsterdam, though so near together, all have 
quite distinct dialects. 

xv'iii Holland 271 

Quantities of margarine are also made, e.g. at Gouda. Again, rye 
is the typical grain, being most important in the more continental 
climate of Gelderland ; and it is the base of the typical food and 
drink of the people, the bread being made mainly of rye — mixed 
with wheat — and both the " Hollands " gin of Schiedam and the 
cura9ao liqueur of Rotterdam having a rye base. A large amount 
of alcohol is also made from potatoes and sugar-beet, and the 
country is one of the chief refiners of beet-sugar, Rotterdam and 
Amsterdam being the two great centres. The associated vinegar 
industry is supplied with onions, gherkins, and cauliflowers — for 
pickling — from the market-gardens of Holland proper, e.g. between 
Alkmaar and Hoorn. 

The deltaic formation being naturally devoid of minerals except 
such as peat and clay, and the only coal in the non-deltaic part 
of the land being in Limburg (Heerlen) and very limited in 
quantity, manufactures depend largely on imported coal ; and this 
tended to localise them on the seaboard or where there was easy 
access to German or Belgian coal. A low standard of comfort, 
implying a low wage, e.g. in Overysel and Limburg, was another 
factor ; and the more modern manufactures sprang up, therefore, 
along the Westphalian frontier, especially in the Twente and the 
Peel districts. The former specialises in cotton, e.g. at Enschede 
and Almelo, and the latter in mixed cotton and wool, e.g. at 
Roermond and Helmond. The older industries were in flax and 
wool, e.g. the " brown Holland " of Tilburg and Eindhoven, in the 
great flax-growing area, and the carpets of Deventer, on the seaward 
edge of the great sheep-raising area. The typical " colonial " 
industries in tobacco and chocolate, quinine and diamonds, are in 
or near Amsterdam ; but this old centre of national activity is now 
only hampered by the isolation — between shoaly Zuider Zee and 
natural moat of marsh which could be flooded from the dam on 
the Amstel — which once baflfled Spain and attracted the Hebrew 
jewellers who fled from less tolerant lands. 

The distribution of racial type, as discussed by Ripley, has, Racial 
perhaps, more relation to physical conditions than he seems to Type and 
think. For the country may be divided into two regions by a line 
similar to a large figure 3, the upper curve surrounding the Zuider 
Zee and the lower one running from the mouth of the Gelders 
via Nymegen to the south-west of Brabant. This line marks 
approximately the edge of a more or less continuous stretch of 
diluvial, i.e. coarse and imperfectly stratified, sand and gravel, an 
area of bleak moor and heath, on which the typical industries are 
the raising of rye and buckwheat, the rearing of sheep and bees, 
the digging of peat and — recently — the planting of woods. Sea- 
ward on all sides of this diluvium are the fertile clay-lands, on 
which the typical industries are the rearing of cattle and horses — 


The Continent of Europe 


Type and 




especially cattle except in the north — and the raising of wheat and 
barley, of flax and sugar-beet, the latter specially in the south-west, 
e.g. round Bergen-op-Zoom. The distinction is very well marked 
in Gelderland, where the diluvium is called Veluwe (" Bad Lands "), 
while the rich "apple" land south of the Rhine and west of the 
Gelders — which, but for river-dykes, would still be, at high water, 
a distributary of the Rhine — is called Betuwe ("Good Lands"). 
This was the home of the Batavians. 

Practically all over the diluvium the characteristic dialect is 
Low German, Saxon north of the Rhine, and Frankish south of it, 
except for the Walloon infiltration down the Maas valley. In the 
Frisian Islands the native tongue is a " continental Lowland Scotch," 
gradually giving place southward along the seaboard until the 
Belgian influence brings in almost pure Flemish. The Frisians 
are unmixed Teutons, long-headed and oval-faced, tall and fair; 
and Teutonic characteristics are common over all parts of the land 
that are in direct communication with the North European plain. 
But in those parts originally most isolated, i.e. amongst the swamps 
of Holland and on the central islands of the delta, the broad- 
headed, dark, stocky-framed people show how Alpine refugees 
found safety in inaccessible " misery spots " ; and their rather 
unexpected survival (cf. p. 80) may be related to the infusion of 
Teutonic blood, evidence of which is seen in the typical disharmonic 
face — which is of pure Teutonic oval shape. 

It has been noticed, too, that, while the intermixture is 
commoner in towns than in rural districts, there is very little 
difference of type between different social classes. This reflects 
the influence of (i) small area and uniform relief in producing 
political homogeneity, (2) a natural refuge in excluding a ruling 
class of alien type, and (3) spade-culture in keeping rural areas, 
both in density of population and in standard of comfort, compar- 
able with urban areas. The only qualification is that areas with 
superior facilities of communication, e.g. those on the seaboard and 
along the great rivers, reflect this advantage in their human standard, 
especially in the two respects which are most closely associated with 
stature — food and housing. 

Various conditions, however, have been adverse to the most 
typical seaboard industry, i.e. fishing. It is curious that the 
islanders, whether Frisians or Zeelanders, are more interested in 
the " inner " fisheries, e.g. the flat fish and " sardines " of the 
Zuider Zee and the Wadden, or the oysters and mussels of the 
East Scheldt, while all the deep-sea fisheries are worked from 
Holland proper, Ijmuiden being the great centre, and the others 
being clearly connected with Amsterdam and Rotterdam, e.g. 
Katwijk and Scheveningen, Vlaardingen and Maasluys. Old ports 
on inner waters, such as Zaandam — where Peter the Great served 

XVIII Holland 273 

as a shipwright, — have quite fallen behind ; and new ports on the 
seaboard, such as Flushing, have been converted into "mainland" 
ports by railway bridges. Walcheren and Beveland are no longer 
famous for fisheries ; the one is the " garden," the other the 
" granary," of Zeeland. 

The influence of the great rivers is also relatively less than it Riverside 
was. Towns such as Moudyk and 's Hertogenbosch, on the sites "o^"^- 
of old Roman camps, or Bergen and Breda, on the navigable Aa, 
had immense importance in early days as " Maas " fortresses — on 
the bank or the flank of the Maas ; and scarcely less importance 
attached to similar sites on Waal and Lek and Ysel, e.g. Nymegen 
and Tiel, Arnhem and Zutphen. But even Maastricht (cf. p. 251), 
the fortifications of which are now dismantled, could not take full 
advantage of its position till it was supplied with railways {c. 1 860) ; 
and in modern times such artificial control is still more prominent, 
especially in the backward diluvial areas. For instance, all the 
local streams are collected at Groningen, and then discharged by 
the Reitsdiep to the I^uwers Zee or by the Ems Canal ^ to Delfzyl 
and the Dollart. So, in Drente, which also slopes towards the 
Dollart, all southward streams are collected at Meppel and Koeverden, 
as in Overysel they are collected at Zwolle. The controlling factor 
here is the strip of rich low-fen which runs along the western edge 
of the diluvium, i.e. along the west of the railway from Zwolle to 
Leeuwarden, and which supports the busy pastoral industries that 
are supplied with such admirable " dairy " fuel from the Assen and 
other peat-bogs of the interior. The famous mat-plaiting of this 
dairy district is a home industry, based on the natural abundance of 
the sand-reed ("sand-vats") of Drente and Overysel. 

^ As German map)-makers — following the German Staff Map of igii (sheet 172) 
— are deliberately printing the Dollart frontier seaward of the Reide promontory as 
a land and not a water line, thus making the whole estuary Prussian instead of 
International, it may be useful to emphasise the facts in International law and 
usage. The frontier is the centre line of the fairway, — the Dutch paying exactly 
half the total cost of lighting and buoying the whole waterway as far as Rottum and 
Borkum. The estuary is, therefore, an International " arm of the sea," open in time 
of peace to all nations without restriction. Of course, this minimises the value of 
Emden as a naval base, and the value of the Ems- Rhine Canal as a means of divert- 
ing Rhine trade from Holland (cf. p. 292). 







The Danish islands were not only stepping-stones to Scandinavia, 
but also a pivot from which the whole Baltic area was more or 
less controlled for centuries ; for in earlier times they were on the 
margin of civilisation, while in later times they commanded all 
intercourse between the two " Hanseatic " seas. The safety of this 
refuge on the margin of civilisation might be inferred from the 
persistence of paganism in the central island of Fiinen {Odense, 
" Odin's Island ") or from the fact that the " Danes " have maintained 
continuous possession of this Sealand^ ("Sea Land") for 2000 
years. The strength of the strategic position may be gauged from the 
ease with which the Danes '* inherited " the Hanseatic claim to charge 
a toll for entry to the Baltic — a charge abolished only in 1857, or 
from the fact that Copenhagen to-day exercises a direct control over 
several typical Baltic products, e.g. Swedish and Russian butter. 

There was, however, a time problem involved. Geographically, 
the Danish islands have somewhat the same command of relations 
between the North Sea and the Baltic as the British Islands have 
of relations between the North Sea and the Atlantic ; but histori- 
cally, as civilisation moved westward, the Baltic became only a 
"pocket" of the North Sea, and the influence of Denmark was 
bound to fall as that of England rose. Nor could Denmark itself 
become influential as a political unit until the politico-economic 
unit of the Hanseatic League had broken up. Then, however, her 
chance came ; for her greatest rival, Holland, was occupied in a 
life-and-death struggle with Spain, which effectually crippled the 
commercial activities of both the belligerent powers. 

The construction of the Kiel Canal has affected both the 
strategic and the commercial importance of the Danish site, but the 
increased size of modern ships has almost compensated for this ; 
for Denmark dare not have used her strategic position against 
either Germany or Russia, while larger vessels have to use the 
Drogden channel through the Sound, i.e. the one between the 

' Zealand is a mis-spelling, due to confusion with the Dutch. 




island of Saltholm and Copenhagen, and even then some have to 
lighten at Copenhagen. Further, the Sound is sometimes rendered 
dangerous for navigation by ice, though it has not been actually 
frozen up now for nearly a century (1836) ; and the fact remains 
that the Great Belt, which is only about 10 miles wide and 
entirely " landlocked " by Danish territory, is the only one of the 

Straits deep enough for large 


Railway and steamer routes in Denmark. 

men-of-war. Even merchant 
vessels are influenced by this, 
and the chance of fog in the 
Belt is far more than compen- 
sated by the dues on the Canal. 
In any case, however, the very 
large vessels for which the 
Great Belt and the Canal are 
suitable, are of relatively little 
use in the Baltic. 

Commercially, too, the Railway 
competition of the Kiel Canal Ferries, 
and the demand for quick 
transport without break-of-bulk 
have been met by the develop- 
ment of steam railway-ferries, which carry the loaded trains across 
the various straits between Malmo and Esbjerg via Korsor and 
Nyborg, Strib and Fredericia, or between Malmo and Rostock via 
Masuedo and Orehoved, Gjedser and Warnemiinde. This is one 
of the chief reasons for the great development of Danish commerce 
(100 p.c.) in the last thirty years, especially at the "free port" of 
Copenhagen ; and it is significant that Great Britain takes 60 p.c. of , 
the exports, while Germany takes only 18 p.c, and that the Danish 
mercantile marine is largely occupied in carrying for foreigners, 
e.g. carrying Russian butter to Copenhagen for re-export. 

The frontier features have had considerable political importance. Frontier. 
Danger in early times came only from the Baltic side, for the North 
Sea coast was very difficult and inhospitable, and the direction of 
the Sound enabled vessels to use the prevailing wind very easily 
for either entrance or exit. The dues collected by the Danes at 
Helsingor, on the narrowest (3 miles) part of the Sound, were 
nominally paid for protection from pirates ; and Copenhagen was 
the first Danish capital on the Sound at all, earlier capitals being 
in less exposed places, e.g. at Roskilde. The isthmian frontier 
involves different considerations, for the fact that civilisation came 
from the south gave special importance to the Little Belt (not 
I mile wide at Fredericia), as it made Viborg the first capital of 
Jutland and the first Christian centre. 

With the development of German nationality, it was inevitable 

276 The Continent of Europe CH. 

Schles- that Denmark should be dislodged from the right bank of the Elbe 
^S- estuary, for long before 1864 rivers had ceased to be appropriate 

dividing lines in Central Europe. For the same reason the Eider 
valley, though a scene of constant struggle between Danes and 
Germans for nearly 1000 years, and partly because of that, 
could not be utilised as a frontier ; and Bismarck's astute suggestion 
to leave the actual decision to the " free vote " of the Schleswig 
people only involved such a determined Germanisation of the 
Duchy that its inclusion in Denmark became practically impossible. 
Under the circumstances the best compromise was to have the 
frontier where the " German " influence died out because of the 
barren heaths of Ribe ; this happened to be almost the narrowest 
part (36 miles) of the peninsula ; and the seaward ends of the 
frontier dip southward far enough to include on the North Sea coast 
the old port of Ribe, the great rival of Schleswig as a port, and on the 
Baltic the approach to the narrow Fredericia Strait. Incidentally, 
this diplomatic trick helps to account for the extremely " French " 
attitude of the Danes in social life and politics. Cf. p. 322. 
North Sea The dangerous character of the North Sea coast, though now 
Coast. minimised by coastal engineering and provision of lighthouses, is 
due to its structure and its climate. For about 200 miles north- 
and-south lies a belt of sand-dunes, averaging perhaps 2 or 3 miles 
in total width, the most northerly of them forming the Skaw spit, 
while in the extreme south they form part of the North Frisian 
Islands. Everywhere these are more or less discontinuous and 
liable to be broken through by the sea, the resultant inundations 
leaving permanent lagoons behind the dunes, e.g. the Ringkiobing 
and Liim " fiords " ; and the submerged dunes are exceedingly 
dangerous, even where the channels into the lagoons do not shift. 
The danger is increased by the fact that the dusty air greatly favours 
the development of fog, thick sea-fogs being a constant phenomenon, 
at all events in summer. 
Plaice The Liim fiord, which was joined to the North Sea as lately as 

Fishery. 1825, is of special importance in the Danish fishing industry. It is 
a network of salt lagoons, linking the North Sea to the Baltic and 
making Northern Jutland an island group ; these lagoons have a 
total area of about 600 square miles, with very narrow entrances at 
both ends, so that they form a lake-like strait with a depth seldom 
more than 1 2 feet. This has been converted into a " nursery " for 
young plaice from the North Sea, and rivals the North Frisian 
waters as a source of supply for the plaice market. Obviously, the 
best harbour between the two nurseries was likely to become a very 
important fishing centre ; and Esbjerg is that harbour, with huge 
floating cages to keep the fish in till they are wanted, and served by 
a large fleet, 700 of which are motor boats. 

There are a number of safe little harbours both elsewhere in 

XIX Denmark 277 

Jutland and on the islands, especially on the so-called " fiords " ; Difficult 
and, while these were a great incentive to movement by sea in the Naviga 
days of small ships, the conditions of navigation were such as to ^°^' 
demand and evoke a fine type of seamanship. For the main 
current out of the Baltic is rapid and strong ; in windy weather it soon 
becomes rough ; in calm weather there is a good deal of fog ; there 
is a fringe of ice generally in mid-winter round most of the coast 
except on the North Sea ; and quantities of ice are carried by the 
current itself. Indeed, the steam-ferry between Korsor and Nyborg 
was so much interrupted at first by bad conditions that it was 
seriously proposed to drive a tunnel under the Great Belt. 

Under these circumstances special importance was bound to be The 
attached to the two ends of the straightest and easiest entrance to Sound. 
the Baltic, the toll-gate of Helsingor on the narrow entrance and 
the trading haven (Copenhagen, " Merchant's Haven ") on the 
broad entrance. The trade was almost entirely in herrings, and the 
fish systematically used the deeper Drogden channel ; this was 
flanked by the Middle Ground shoal and the Saltholm flat — between 
which Nelson attacked Copenhagen in 1801 — on the east and the 
two islands of Sealand and Amager on the west, i.e. the windward 
side. The channel between these two made, therefore, an admirable 
natural refuge ; and here the city of Copenhagen sprang up. 

The surface features are almost entirely due to the glaciation Surface. 
which spread over the basal cretaceous limestone from the 
Scandinavian ice-centre, for the melting of the ice, and the action 
of water otherwise, left the rougher material to form morainic hills, 
while the finer material was distributed over the lower land within, 
i.e. to the north of, the terminal moraines. All the highest elevations, 
therefore, are of this boulder sand and gravel, and lie towards the 
south and east both in Jutland and in the islands ; and the whole 
area tends to slope very gently down towards the west, thus tending 
to expose the limestone base — to form the better coast — towards 
the east. Where the chalk or limestone lies in a favourable position 
with regard to the clay, an important cement industry has sprung up. 

Over such a small area ( = twice Wales), however, there could General 
not be — under the circumstances — much variety of relief; and no Uni- 
point in the kingdom much exceeds 500 feet. This maximum is °^ ^* 
found in the Himmel-bjerg district, near Aarhus, and gives birth to 
the only considerable river in the country, the Gudenaa (80 miles), 
which accounts for the early rise of Randers as a port. Similarly, 
the Odense river, draining from the Svendborg hills (about 400 feet), 
helps to account for the early rise of Odense as a port. In Sealand 
the maximum elevation is only some 350 feet; and the lower 
elevation and the greater distance from the Atlantic combine with 
proximity to the Sound to make the " Faxo " hills more famous as 
a source of cement than as a watershed. 

278 The Continent of Europe ch. 

Variety of Though tlie general level is uniformly low, however, its glacial 
Detail. history is not favourable to conspicuous uniformity ; on the contrary, 
there is a considerable variety of detail — dead level and swamp 
being as rare, except in the west, as hills and lakes are common. 
This makes the problems of farming very different from those in e.g. 
Holland, as it gives a " Buckinghamshire " effect to the scenery — 
corn-fields, meadows, beech forests ; indeed, the scenery is typically 
" pretty," as is implied by the name Fiinen (" The Pretty Land "), 
and the small islands, e.g. Langeland (sixteen times as "long" as it 
is broad) or Moen, are as favoured in this respect as the large ones. 
Jutland The great exception, of course, is in the west and north of 

"Deserts." Jutland, where the morainic hills slope down to morainic lowlands, 
and the undulating farm-lands give place to moor and heath and 
then to peat-bog and sand-dune. Even here, however, — thanks 
largely to the organising genius of the numerous Jews, especially in 
Copenhagen — a great change is coming over the landscape, so great 
that it is actually altering the relative proportions of urban (38 p.c.) 
and rural (62) population. In olden days the oak was the typical 
tree in Jutland, but the supply seems to have been exhausted for 
shipbuilding. In the process of natural re-afforestation, soil and 
climate were more favourable to the beech than the oak ; and 
probably the demand for a " domestic " wood and charcoal further 
favoured the beech. But in the meantime the destruction of the 
old forests had exposed the western parts of the country to encroach- 
ment by wind-blown sand, thus impoverishing still more a land of 
bog and moor. Within recent years, as on the French Landes, all 
these adverse conditions have been fought successfully. The sands 
have been planted with mountain pine and red fir, the windiest 
exposures have been isolated by scrub fences, the bogs have been 
drained, and the moors have been fertilised by top-dressings of marl. 
The total result may be best summed up by the statement that the 
old "deserts " of Viborg, Ringkiobing, and Ribe have been growing 
in population faster than any other part of the kingdom. 
Climate. The chmate is something like that of Eastern England, but with 

a slightly warmer summer and slightly colder winter ; and it is 
characteristic that extremes do not increase eastward, the purely 
insular environment giving the east an average temperature slightly 
higher than that of Jutland. There is a distinct four-months' winter 
(December-March) at about 32° F., in spite of the normal S.W. 
wind ; and the three-months' summer (June-August) has an average 
of 59° F. The average rainfall is about the same as in Middlesex 
(25 inches), most falling in the west and least falling in the lee of 
the chief heights, e.g. only 15 inches falling in the lee of the Himmel- 
bjerg on Anholt. The dry and keen east wind in April is ex- 
ceedingly favourable to farm operations ; but, as it works round 
by the north into the normal due-west wind of summer, it exposes 

XIX Denmark 279 

the north of Jutland to a "skai" influence which is equally unfavour- 
able to vegetation of all kinds. 

The one great advantage which Denmark possesses over her Advan- 
typical Baltic rivals with regard to the typical industry of dairy tages for 
farming is the greater length of her summer and the marine curtail- ^^ 
ing of her winter, thus minimising the need for indoor feeding of 
stock and giving a maximum growing-time for pasture-grasses. This 
advantage and the facilities for commerce gave the Danes an 
opportunity for developing an industry for which their economic 
system was- admirably suited. Most of the land is freehold and 
farmed by the owner, about equal quantities being devoted to 
tillage and to pasture ; and the soil is fertile enough to foster a 
dense population (averaging no per square mile in Jutland and 
275 in the islands), while the climate allows its fertility to be used 
for products so useful in the dairy industry as oats and barley, 
beet-root and potatoes. The value of the grain crops (including the 
straw) in 1910 reached nearly p{^ 17,000,000, while that of roots 
was over ^9,000,000 and that of hay not much under ;^5, 000,000. 

The personal cleanliness of the people was equally favourable Human 
to success, while the smallness of the holdings compelled a wide Note, 
development of co-operation, by which — especially in the matter of 
buying, e.g. fertilisers or feeding-stuffs — enormous economies have 
been secured. Butter is, of course, the great product, the yearly 
export having a value of some ^£^10,000,000; but the utiHsation of 
the waste-products of butter-making obviously involved pig-rearing 
and poultry-farming. 

The number of live-stock in the country provides much of the Live- 
raw material for the glove industry, e.g. of Randers and Copenhagen, Stock, 
and for the woollen and leather goods, e.g. of Odense and Copen- 
hagen ; and there is a considerable export " on the hoof," e.g. pigs 
being exported even to Austria-Hungary when there is " swine-fever " 
in Servia (cf. p. 146). 

The country is naturally deficient in mineral wealth, except for Minerals, 
clays ; but between the chalk and the boulder clay in the south-west 
there are beds of lignite, and the peat makes an admirable fuel for 
dairy purposes. The china-clay, which forms the basis of the famous 
porcelain industry of Copenhagen, comes from the primitive rock of 
Bornholm, which is typically Scandinavian, not Danish, in structure. 

The economic geography of Denmark has a special interest to Icelandic 
foreigners, owing to the particular lines on which the country has WWrl. 
developed and to the inclusion of Iceland within its nominal 
frontiers ; for the one gives a profound lesson to farmers, especially 
in Britain, while the other has a unique interest for meteorologists, 
especially round the " British seas." 

The excellence of the grass which feeds the famous ponies and 
sheep of the mountainous island of Iceland, is due mainly to the fact 


The Continent of Europe 


Danish v. 



Pasture v. 


that the island is, like the Azores, close to a great centre of atmo- 
spheric action, and partly to the amount of underground heat, as 
evidenced by the ubiquity of volcanoes and geysers. The relation 
of the permanent Low-Pressure centre off Iceland to the permanent 
High-Pressure centre off the Azores seems likely to enable the weather 
in N.W. Europe to be forecast successfully for long periods ; for 
when pressure is above normal in the Azores, it seems to be below 
normal in Iceland. Now, when the difference of pressure is greater 
than usual during winter months, warm oceanic winds are stronger 
than usual in the north-east of the Atlantic, and the west of Central 
Europe is likely to have a spell of high temperature ; and, on the 
other hand, when the difference is less than usual, the oceanic 
winds are weakened, and the west of Central Europe is likely to have 
a spell of hard frost. 

The development of Danish farming has upset almost every 
Shibboleth of British theorists ; and, therefore, both the facts and the 
interpretation of them are of profound importance. As far as all 
the Danish exports to the United Kingdom are concerned, the British 
farmer, as a potential producer, is at no natural disadvantage ; his 
soil and climate are equally good, and he is actually nearer the 
market But he has an invincible superstition that cows can be 
kept only on good grass-land, and that scientific dairy-farming is only 
possible where soil and climate are peculiarly favourable, e.g. in 
Cheshire or Devonshire. Indirectly this has led to the poor in 
England more or less giving up the use of milk and eggs ! 

Now the Danes have proved that more cows can be kept "on " 
plough-land than on pasture ; and, as the proportion of cattle to 
arable land in 1888 was exactly the same in Denmark and in Britain 
(214 head to each 1000 acres of tillage), any comparison of recent 
development must be significant. To-day, the Danish proportion is 
264 head, while ours is only 239 ; and the increase is accompanied 
by a similar development in secondary products of the dairy industry. 
For instance, in the same period, the quantity of margarine has 
risen from under 40,000 cwts. to over 350,000, the number of pigs 
from under 775,000 to nearly 1,500,000, the value of the butter 
exported from about ;^2, 500,000 to about ^^10,000,000. For 
these products we now pay Denmark something like ;^2 0,000,000 
a year — 47,000 tons of Danish "pork" out of a total 48,000, and 
98 p.c. of the total 20,000,000 score of Danish eggs,^ coming to us. 

Now when the Danes first entered on this development, they 
had a practical monopoly of the British market ; but since then 
there has risen keen competition amongst producers, and consumers 
have been educated — by the Danish products — to be more critical. 
There must, therefore, be more in the problem than the mere 
influence of personal cleanliness and the taking of pains, scrupulous 
' Germany, however, is now the largest importer of poultry and eggs. 

XIX Denmark 281 

maintenance of standard, and the economies of co-operation. There 
is absolutely scientific organisation. This is shown in various ways ; 
for instance, the yield of milk per cow has been increased during the 
last dozen years — by keeping careful records and breeding only from 
good milkers — from 450 gallons per year to 585, so that they have 
been able lately to export annually over 15,000,000 kilos of cream 
without decreasing their output of butter, and, of course, the mechanical 
" separation " of the cream immediately after milking minimises the 
chance of infection ^ and saves the expense of transporting the milk. 
The essential point, however, is the growing of green crops, especially 
lucerne, acres of green crop surrounding each strip of the real grass- 
land which is still absolutely necessary for summer use. This means 
that a well-organised dairy industry is the best possible method of 
keeping people on the land — the proportion kept in Denmark being 
73 (per 1000 acres of tillage) as against under 37 in England and 
Wales ; it is also the most profitable way of using land, as evidenced 
by the fact that — incidentally to her production of roots for cattle- 
food — Denmark has found that she can provide all her own sugar. 

The only apparent limits to production are the small total area Area k, 
of the country and the considerable proportion of it that consists of I^PO'^' 
moor and " landes." And this difficulty is met, as far as possible, 
by imports of grain (maize, rye, and barley) and oil-cake (cotton, 
soya, and sunflower). In the list of imports, with almost wearisome 
iteration, two stand alone — " coal and feeding-stuffs " ; and this is 
true of all parts — Aalborg, Esbjerg, Horsens, Kolding, Randers in 
Jutland ; Nyborg, Odense, Svendborg in Fiinen ; Nykobing in 
Falster ; Nakskov in Laaland. This concentration of economic 
interest on a single industry is not dangerous, because that industry 
is concerned with a wide number of products all of which have 
become normal necessaries of life; and the neighbouring waters, 
supplemented by the Iceland and Faroe fisheries, supply the only 
other necessary food. 

On the other hand, such concentration on a rural industry implies Towns, 
an absence of large towns and a considerable import of manufactures 
and minerals. Copenhagen is responsible for 560,000 people out 
of the total of 2,760,000; and Aarhus (60,000) and Odense 
(42,000) are the only other centres of any size. Aarhus is one of 
the chief railway-junctions of the country, for the lake-studded 
Gudenaa valley, which forms its hinterland, is as important as it is 
picturesque ; and Odense has been rescued, by a ship-canal, from 
the seclusion which gave it safety in olden days and made it a suit- 
able site for the shrine of St. Canute. 

' One of the great economies of this absolutely sanitary method is that the milk 
keeps so well that it need not be delivered more than once a day. 



Germany is essentially a continental, i.e. a military, area, 
pivoting on a confined Alpine foreground in the south and ex- 
panding to an exposed coastal lowland in the north ; and it is 
significant that the home of her rulers should be the double 
principality of Hohenzollern, the drainage of which — like the Pan- 
Germanic ambition of a considerable section of their people — works 
its way out to sea by both Rhine and Danube. 
Central The essentially continental character of the area has an intimate 

Site. relation of course to its essentially central site, the controlling 
influence of which has probably been at least as harmful politically 
in the past as it is helpful economically now, and has been equally 
evident in the racial elements of the area, in their strategical 
problems, and in their modern economic development. Relief 
control led various groups of Teutonic nomads westward up the 
neck of steppe which lay between the Carpathians on the one hand 
and the Baltic lagoons, the Lithuanian forest, and the Pripet marsh 
on the other hand ; and they emerged, from between forested 
highland on the south and forested lowland on the north, on to a 
central treeless plain. This position proved to be exposed to 
various influences — Keltic and Slavic, Scandinavian and Roman, the 
Roman being based on the old Roman occupation of the great north- 
and-south waterway of the Middle Rhine, which empties towards what 
are now the chief industrial and commercial nations of the world. 
Political This was likely to lead to great mixture of races and of political 

Variety, units — of which twenty-six still exist separately — and this mixture 
was largely responsible for the internal incoherence which delayed 
union inside the German area ; but eventually self-preservation 
demanded definite union of kindred units against the various 
foreign influences and powers. State consciousness, as opposed to 
Imperialism, is still widely dominant in the area ; for instance, 
Alsace-Lorraine is German, not Prussian ; there is strong State 
patronage of art and drama ; and there are more than a score of 
rival universities. But the very variety of relief and race which 


CH. XX Germany 283 

impeded unity in early days, has been a main source of strength to 
the nation since it was united. 

The pohtical frontiers are varied and suggestive. The mere Political 
fact that Germany touches seven foreign Powers lessens any Frontiers. 
political danger, but the frontiers are least safe where they face 
those neighbours who are at once the strongest and the least in 
sympathy with the Germans, i.e. France and Russia. In the east 
the frontier-line has some natural protection, and in the west there 
are the Dutch moors and disjointed hills ; but the position was 
bound either to obliterate or to accentuate nationality, weakening 
the weak or strengthening the strong ; and while Germany might 
have become — and has become commercially ^ — a link between the 
kindred peoples of Austria and Holland, she must have become a 
barrier between the alien peoples of France and Russia, or have 
disappeared from the political map. A military organisation was, 
therefore, necessarily imposed on her, at the same time that her 
great length from west to east forced her to be involved in both 
Western and Eastern political problems. 

But economic union was as much a matter of imperial strategy Economic 
as the political union ; and it was greatly encouraged by the central Unity, 
site and the access to the Atlantic. The central site gives unique 
facilities for trade with the whole of continental Europe without 
" break of bulk " ; and it is significant that, though there is a 
difference of gauge between the German and the Russian railways, 
the gauge does not actually change till Warsaw, thus throwing the 
inconvenience of the change entirely on Russia. The access to the 
Atlantic was of little value in early times, and therefore little was lost 
by the fact that it was neglected — though the reason for the neglect 
is an obvious comment on the character of the southern frontier. 
For from the tenth to the sixteenth century Germany, as the 
heir of the Roman Empire, was drawn to Italy so strongly that she 
never became the heir of the Hanseatic League. And the very 
lateness of her development on the Atlantic is one cause of the 
rapid progress which her mercantile marine has made recently, and 
which — for the same reason — can scarcely be expected to continue. 

At the most liberal estimate, Germany has only about 1200 Sea- 
miles of sea-coast, of which more than 900 are on the Baltic ; but Coast, 
the relative unimportance of the Baltic is suggested by the fact that, 
while perhaps ;^2o,ooo,ooo have been spent on the improvement 
of the Elbe estuary, and ;^7, 000,000 on that of the Weser, only 
;:^2, 000,000 have been spent on that of the Oder, a river twice as 
long as the Weser. The obvious defects of the Baltic are its 
shallowness, its liability to ice in winter, and its relation to the 
German rivers, which are deprived — by their curious eastward trend 

' Cf. the way in which modem Germany "anticipates" Austrian eggs on their 
intended way to the British Isles. 


The Continent of Europe 




in their lower courses — of their natural hinterland in modern times ; 
so that, since the Baltic ceased to be one of the great inland seas 
of the " world," trade has tended to concentrate westwards, where 
the sea is never frozen, and where there is easiest access to the 
greatest markets. The relation of this sea frontier to the land 
frontier, and the relation of both to the central position, are made more 
obvious by a more detailed analysis of the precise frontier features. 

The land frontier (cf. pp. 194, 251) has the great advantage of 
including no less than four areas that are occupied by Buffer States 
whose neutrality is beyond suspicion, for their future existence 
depends on it ; and, though the Swiss frontier is partly marked by 
a river, the particular conditions neutralise the typical defects of a 
river frontier — the riverine lands being marshy eastward and 
including the Schaffhausen gorge westward. It is true that the 
Alpine valleys lie rather north -and -south, as evidenced by the 

The rivers of the North German Plain. 

different political units northwards ; but in front of the wild wooded 
limestone of the Alps proper there is an expanse of peat-bogs and 
morainic lakes, such as made the site of Munich one of great 
strategic importance in early days. The frontier towards Austria is 
equally safe — river gorge and mountain crest; and, again, any 
balance of power is in favour of Germany, the slope on the Austrian 
side being much the steeper, especially in the Erz Gebirge, while 
the Riesen Gebirge have an extreme height (in Schneekoppe) of 
well over 5000 feet. The admirable Silesian railways, too, threaten 
Vienna via the Moravian Gate (1000 ft.) in a way in which no 
Austrian railway — still less several — can threaten Berlin. Only in 
Lorraine, where the old Roman dominion was so firmly established 
that the native speech has been Romance ever since, and on the 
Slav frontier in the east, is there any real difficulty ; and in both 
cases the trouble is due to extension of frontier from within. 

With regard to Lorraine, it has been urged by German authorities 
that the distance to Paris from Metz (200 miles) is more than 60 
miles less than that from Aix-la-Chapelle, and that the route via 

XX Germany 285 

Verdun is as easy as that via the Sambre-Meuse valley ; and this 
is true of the physical character^ of the route, however false the 
suggestion as to its strategic character. Further, behind the wide 
wooded Vosges a dozen railway bridges and a score of pontoon 
bridges cross the Rhine, all linked to the twin objectives of Metz 
and Diedenhofen. Similar considerations are urged about the 
" Swiss " route into France via Porrentruy and the Upper Doubs 
compared with the legitimate route via the Burgundy Gate (1350 
feet) and the Middle Doubs ; and, again, as far as the physical 
character is concerned, the legitimate route is the easier. So, in the 
north, there is ample justification for the extension of ordinary 
railways to the frontier ; for, since the peat was stripped off large 
areas of the Aremberg and Boutanger moors, and the subsoil began 
to be cultivated, there has been a large increase of population. And, 
though the drainage canals provide quite good transport, the growth 
of the Dutch textile industry has raised a growing market for 
agricultural produce across the frontier. Still the whole argument 
and the insistence on it, like the character of the railways, are 
significant ; for, logically, it has only one meaning — that the 
possession of Lorraine obviates to some extent the " moral necessity " 
for violating the neutrality of the Buffer States in order to lengthen 
the front available for the concentration of a huge force. 

Any charitable doubts must be dispelled by the character of the Belgian 
railways. South of Malmedy,^ though the normal traffic does not Frontier, 
average half-a-dozen small trains in the twenty-four hours, there is a 
heavily metalled and double track running parallel to, and within 
a mile of, the Belgian frontier. Along this track there is a station 
every three miles ; and at these stations there is sufficient " loop " 
accommodation to allow from half-a-dozen to a dozen long troop 
trains to be side-tracked, and — without blocking the through-traffic 
on the main line — from 5000 to 10,000 men to be detrained, with 
all their immediate impedimenta. In each case, too, the sidings 
are provided with high platforms and all other necessary apparatus 
for detraining horses, guns, and wagons. These stations are close 
to the admirable roads which the Belgians have run through the 
Ardennes to encourage tourist traffic. 

The eastern frontier winds through a low plain which once made Russian 
a reasonable unit for Poland, but which offered no marked relief Frontier, 
features to justify its partition ; and all the sharers of the spoil suffer 
in consequence, if not comparably with their guilt. The eastward 
extension of Prussia over the Baltic lowland, though it exposes to 
special danger, is a legitimate inheritance from the Duchy of Prussia ; 
and the movement of the frontier since Napoleon's time so as to 

^ The parallel route from Strassburg via Toul is c. 80 miles longer than the 
Verdun route from Metz. 

^ Quite recently linked up to the Belgian line at Stavelot. 

286 The Continent of Europe ch. 

include Thorn southward and Posen eastward has made it fairly 
easy to secure connection between East Prussia and Silesia. Still 
East Prussia is undeniably " hugged by the Russian bear " economi- 
cally, if not politically ; for it is cut off from its natural hinterland by 
hostile tariffs, and its economic progress has been hampered by its 
strategic dangers. These are obvious, but over-rated. The total 
length of frontier from north of Memel to east of Konigshutte is 
about 750 miles, the width of the Prussian tongue from east of 
Thorn to the Baltic is about 75 miles, and the distance from the 
Russian frontier in the VVarte valley to Berlin is little more than 
175 miles. But the fact that the frontier was deliberately run 
directly across all the chief rivers and through all the areas of 
scantiest population is based on geographical conditions which 
minimise the dangers. For the narrow trans-continental route 
between Odessa and Pillau (800 miles) approaches the "Haff" 
coast only through an intricate maze of woods and waters, e.g. in 
Masuria, the most critical points in which are fortified, e.g. at Lotzen ; 
and this forested lakeland, with its poor soil and a climate which 
kills out the beech, has reared a most sturdy population. The same 
is more or less true of Posen, though the soil is more fertile, this 
being compensated by the fact that the lakes run systematically 
north-and-south, and thus offer maximum obstacle to invasion from 
the east, while the roads on the Russian side are appallingly bad. 
Danger- These physical conditions limit the lines of approach more 

Zones. Qr less to the main river-valleys, and even here the danger- 
zone is minimised. For instance, the " narrows " at Tilsit are 
almost the only point where the broad, marshy, often-flooded valley 
of the Memel can be crossed with any ease ; and, on the other 
hand, longitudinal reaches of the great river are systematically 
fortified, as that of the Lower Vistula at Thorn and Graudenz and 
Elbing. So the Pregel is defended by the fortresses of Pillau and 
Konigsberg, the latter being one of the famous Quadrilateral (the 
others being Danzig, Posen, and Thorn) which control the whole of 
and the approaches to the Lower Vistula, with its floodable delta. 
Over and above all this, two — in some places three — separate, but 
parallel, lines of railway, capable of carrying the heaviest trains at a 
high speed, run all along the frontier ; and this is justified by the 
assertion that in times of danger offensive measures may be the best 
form of defence. Logically, however, this assumes that Russia is 
more or less equally well equipped for delivering troops in large 
masses on the German frontier — an assumption which cannot be 
justified in face of her notorious lack of proper railway facilities even 
for ordinary purposes. It certainly adds a piquancy to the position 
to note that the political pressure which caused the change of 
railway gauge, which theoretically takes place on the frontier, to be 
moved eastward as far as Warsaw, gives Germany the strategic and 

XX Germany 287 

economic advantage of being able to run right across the frontier * 
from all her internal bases without " break of bulk " or detraining ; 
and, on the contrary, Russia, besides having to cover very great 
distances which would greatly delay mobilisation, would have to 
detrain and " break bulk.'"' 

The northern frontier involves other considerations, for — though Baltic 
Germany now stands second in the world with her mercantile marine Frontier 
— her maritime position is naturally worse than that of any other 
Power in Western Europe, for her Baltic coast is of quite secondary 
importance, while her North Sea coast is very small. The Baltic 
coast may be divided into two parts, roughly described as " La- 
goon " coast in the east and " Bay " coast in the west ; and in the 
former direction German ports are less favoured climatically than 
even Russian ports, e.g. Libau and Windau. For while these are 
faced to windward by so many miles of sea that they often remain 
practically ice-free the whole winter, the German ports are so much 
landlocked that they are always — naturally — blocked by ice for some 
weeks. Even on an open gulf like that of Danzig, too, the ports 
— unlike the Russian — suffer from excess of river-water, the harbour- 
water at Danzig being fully 50 p.c. below normal saltness, and conse- 
quently frozen for nearly three months every year ; and, of course, 
inside the Haffs, or lagoons, matters are still worse, the approach to 
Memel from the Baltic being blocked for less than 14 days in 
the year, while the approach from the Haff is blocked for more than 
140. On the "Bay" coast conditions are much more favourable, 
Liibeck being closed for only one month ; and still farther west 
they are still better. For here morainic deposits cut off the natural 
outlet of the older and larger rivers, e.g. the Eider, leaving the old 
river-valleys without rivers of any size in them ; and as the sub- 
merged parts of these old valleys are — climatically — very near the 
Atlantic, and have no rivers depositing silt in them, they make the 
best harbours along the whole coast, except for the purely fishing 
operations which flourish on the more intricate coast farther east- 
ward. The most southerly of them, Kiel, happens also to have a very 
narrow entrance at Friedrichsort ; and the strategic value of this 
caused it to be chosen as the terminus of the isthmian canal 

These western ports have a further advantage of being in Haffs. 
the lee of the land as far as wind-action is concerned, and this 
is the determining influence in the formation of the Haffs. For the 
surface movements of the Baltic along this coast are either a west- 
ward overflow into the North Sea (cf. p. 15) or an eastward drift 
before the Anti-Trade winds ; and as the latter is usually the stronger, 
debris of various kinds gets drifted eastward along the coast. Thus 
Nehrungs, or sand-bars, are built up along the general line of the 

^ The German rolling-stock is provided with adjustable wheels capable of actually 
working on the Russian 5-feet gauge. 


The Continent of Europe 


berg V. 


coast, cutting off particular articulations and converting them into 
Haffs, or lagoons ; and a large river soon converts one of these into 
what is practically a fresh -water lake. The river silt speedily 
reduces the size of this lake ; and, though the reclaimed land may 
be exceedingly fertile, as on the deltaic dam with which the Vistula 
has filled the western end of. the Frische Haff (" Fresh-Water 
Lagoon "), the value of the site as a port is ruined. 

Where there is no important stream emptying through the coast, 
the effect is much less marked, but identically the same in char- 
acter ; for instance, the 200 miles of the Pomeranian coast have been 
converted into a monotonous series of bars backed by tiny lagoons. 
But the presence of an important river, especially where the coast bends 
northward and so is more exposed to the west wind, at once makes 
the feature pronounced (cf. p. 261), the Frische and the Kurische 
being the most pronounced. In neither case is the bar less than 
60 miles long ; in neither is the lagoon practically open except at its 
extreme north-east, i.e. leeward, corner — where the drainage of the 
Pregel and the Niemen maintains a channel at Pillau and Memel ; 
in neither case has the natural harbour survived — e.g. Elbing having 
had to be connected with Konigsberg by a canal, and Konigsberg 
itself having been provided with a ship-canal to Pillau. 

The commercial importance of Konigsberg, once based on 
amber, is now connected mainly with its strategic site between the 
two Haffs ; but that of Danzig is more directly commercial, based on 
the Vistula. The whole valley of the river in Germany is rich, and 
its dyked deltaic lands are exceedingly so, very fine wheat being 
raised north of Marienburg on the high right bank of the Nogat dis- 
tributary. Moreover, only two distributaries — and both minor ones 
— now enter the Frische Haff at all, the main body of water entering 
the sea near Danzig in the lee of the Hela peninsula. Consequently, 
by means of a ship-canai to its outport of Neufahrwasser, Danzig has 
maintained its position not only as handling large quantities of 
agricultural products, but even as a shipbuilding centre. The 
strategic importance of the city rests on the complete facilities for 
flooding the dyked lands and on its value as a base for supplies as 
long as Germany commanded the Baltic, while it is supported on 
the home side by several little ports, e.g. at Stolp, Riigenwalde, and 
Kolberg, all fully equipped for the accommodation of transports 
and troops. 

Stettin is in a still better position for trade, because its position 
farther inland is at once safer strategically and nearer to the great 
inland centres, especially Berlin. It is, indeed, the most southerly 
of all the Baltic ports ; and, as it is also at the mouth of the greatest 
Prussian river, it has become the chief Prussian port, specially 
interested in shipbuilding (cf. the Vulcan yards) and agricultural 
products (sugar and grain). It handles over 3,000,000 tons of 

a Towns ofovcrSOaOOOuih 
® Towns fbonilOO-500000 . 

Towns 50-100.000. 

o Towns ofijjid^r 50 OOP 

HinhJjortds over S.OOOFeet 
,. iT'om l200-3/)00 .. 

Eplandi ~ 600-1.200 .. 
owlands .. O- 60O .. 

Land, below Seorlevet 

JZH Sea O-eOOFeetaoOFaOwms) 


Fri s 



Zee I 








I . LPUujuer O 



A .Mi i W ty. 







iers _ 





r ;r 






Se<frgaJ'kCUf> * Spn.L'^ 




merchandise by river and canal alone, and has a fairway of fully 23 
feet to Swinemiinde, which is kept open by ice-breakers even in the 
severest winter. In a very mild winter the breakers may only be 
needed for perhaps a fortnight (in February). 

The relation of these three important towns to the river-basins, Bays, 
from which they have more or less drained population, suggests 
another contrast between the eastern and western parts of this coast ; 
for in the west there has been no similar concentration except at a 
very few points. On the contrary, between the Lower Oder and 
the Schleswig peninsula no river of any size enters the Baltic — one 


Stanfbrdi Oeog.' £stait, Uindont 

Kiel or Kaiser Wilhelm CanaL 

reason perhaps for the fish having deserted this part of the sea — so 
that no particular point had any special control over a large special 
hinterland. A number of towns, however, sprang up here, some on 
the " dead valleys " referred to above and others on the " Boddens " 
or intricate bays formed farther eastward, i.e. less under the lee of 
the peninsula, by the debris caught between the westward overflow 
and the eastward drift and deposited round the outlines of existing 
land, as in Riigen. The numerous towns were originally all more 
or less rivals and yet joint-members of the Hanseatic League ; and 
Stralsund and Rostock were as much favoured in early times by 
their nearness to Falster (for Copenhagen) and the Baltic proper, as 
Kiel and Liibeck are now by their nearness to the North Sea and 
the Lower Elbe. 

290 The Continent of Europe ch. 

Lubeck. It was the little river Trave (70 miles) that made Liibeck the 

head of the League, largely by encouraging the cutting of the 
Stecknitz Canal — the oldest in Germany {c. a.d. 1400) — to the Elbe 
and by giving it a definite hinterland ; but even the deepening of 
the Trave, the modern Elbe -and -Trave Canal, and the excellent 
railway facilities, have all failed to compensate for the advantage 
given to Kiel by the Trans -Isthmian Ship-canal. Liibeck does 
retain, however, so much of its old influence in the Baltic that it 
carries on a larger Baltic trade than any other German port. 

North Sea The North Sea coast is much more important, the Elbe and 

Frontier. Weser ports alone owning about 85 p.c. of all German shipping; 
and the interaction of strategic and economic considerations makes 
a virtue even of its shortness, which offers minimum exposure along 
with maximum facility — since the construction of the Kiel Canal — 
for concentration on interior lines that are quite out of reach from 
the sea. For the approach to the coast is so shallow that navigation 
is far from safe even for moderate-sized vessels in time of peace, 
and the prodigious fortifications of Borkum, Heligoland, and Sylt 
(now being connected with the mainland by a railway embankment) 
would greatly increase the difficulty in time of war. Apart, too, 
from possible developments in air-navigation, it would be exceedingly 
difficult to cut the canal by a raid from Biisum or any similar 
railway terminus on the " North Frisian " coast or from the mouth 
of the Eider. For the shore-waters and the coastal-plain are two parts 
of a single homogeneous unit, the ubiquitous shoals seaward being 
the counterpart of ubiquitous marshes landward. The latter, like 
the moors behind them, have no doubt been largely reclaimed, 
especially in Oldenburg and in the Ditmarsh and East Frisian 
areas ; and the estuaries of the great rivers have been greatly 
improved. But the dyked polders can easily be flooded, and 
dangerous shoals extend — even on the best estuary — 20 miles 
seaward of Cuxhaven. In time of war no enemy would have the 
slightest probability of reaching the coast, even if it were free from 
the fog under which it is normally hidden. 

Hambnrg. The relative advantages of the chief centres illustrate the relation 
of strategic to commercial considerations. Hamburg owes its 
importance to the fact that 60 miles up the Elbe the dyked marshes 
come up against a strip of relatively high " geest " ; and in crossing 
this the river not only concentrates its power on a narrow front 
which makes it at this point narrower than for many miles farther 
up-stream, but also cuts characteristically into its right bank, thus 
deepening its bed on the " Baltic " bank. Here, too, it is joined 
by the Alster, amid a group of islands, which thus became the 
natural objective of a land route from Liibeck (cf the Elbe-and- 
Trave Canal) and of a river route which taps, via the Imperial 
capital of Berlin, the farthest frontier towns on the Oder and the 

XX Germany 291 

Vistula. The damming back of the Alster to form a moat, and 
the development of the British Isles and of Atlantic commerce, 
converted this junction into an industrial and commercial centre ; 
and its strategic importance only waited on the acquisition of 
Heligoland by Germany. 

Bremen was an older port, nearer the Atlantic and farther from Bremen, 
the competition of Liibeck, but on a much smaller river ; and the 
position 50 miles up the smaller river could not compete with that 
only 10 miles farther up the larger river. Even the development of 
an outport at Bremerhaven, 5 miles nearer than Cuxhaven to the sea, 
and the deepening of the river up to Bremen itself, have failed to 
enable the city to keep pace with Hamburg. Its one advantage — 
reaped specially in the early days of emigration — is that it is nearer 
to the Atlantic, and so it has come to control the trade in such 
typical Trans-Atlantic products as cotton and tobacco. The cotton 
trade is of special interest, because the hinterland of the port in 
this connection stretches from Scandinavia to Italy and from 
Lorraine to Russia — in spite of the fact that Hamburg and the 
Elbe intervene eastwards. 

The explanation lies in what are apparently the very dis- Its 
advantages of the port. With a depth of 50 feet seaward on the Hinter- 
" improved " river, its immediate hinterland is curiously poor and *" 
useless, and its landward navigation is not half that of the Elbe. 
But the imports of cotton are crowded into less than six months, 
thousands of bales being sometimes discharged within a few days ; 
and this means a demand for very large wharfage and store-rooms 
for sorting. Bremen can provide these just because of the poorness 
of its immediate hinterland and of its river navigation ; and, there- 
fore, it has come to rival even Hamburg as a sea-port, though as a 
river-port it is insignificant, falling far behind such ports as Duisburg 
and Mannheim. Indeed, Hamburg's river trade alone exceeds the 
total outward trade of Bremen by sea, river, and rail. It is equally 
significant that, while the North Sea coast generally is superior in 
its wharfage, the Baltic coast — with its deeper shore waters — is 
superior in shipbuilding, no North Sea port except Hamburg 
rivalling in this respect Kiel, "Stettin," Danzig, or even Elbing 
(cf. the Schielau " yard "). 

If the Weser, in cutting to the right, had not deserted the Jade Wilhelms- 
Bay, the great Weser port would have been at Wilhelmshaven ; but haven r. 
the bay is now a sort of backwater into which the Weser current, ®^' 

and the fierce tides that are typical of the coast, drift so much 
silt that approach by sea is exceedingly difficult, even on the rare 
occasions when there is neither fog nor rough water. However 
useful as a naval station, therefore — and it is one of the three 
finest naval bases in the world — the place is useless for commerce ; 
and, as the commercial development of Westphalia has been com- 


The Continent of Europe 


raensurate with the growth of the national resolve to handle their 
own commerce, and has far outstripped the Dutch willingness to 
deepen the Rhine in Holland, there has been a strong demand for 
a seaport in German territory at a minimum distance from the 
Ruhr valley. The obvious solution of the difficulty was suggested 
by the fact that the Ems, after flowing within 50 miles of Dortmund, 
empties into the DoUart at the extreme west of the German coastal 
plain ; and, as nearness to the Dutch frontier is no longer really 
a political qt strategic obstacle, the Dortmund-Ems canaP has 
found an adinirable sea-terminus at Emden [see p. 273]. 

It may be doubted whether, in spite of its commercial success, 
this route is the best possible between the Rhine and the Dollart, 
for the relief just along the Dutch frontier is exceedingly favourable 
to a deep canal without locks from Wesel to the Lower Ems ; but 
there is a strategic problem involved, which also has a bearing 
on the development of Emden. For the reasonable intention to 
guarantee co-operation between army and navy has led to the 
conversion of Emden — in lee of the great naval base of Borkum — 
into a great naval station 7Vtf^ large military barracks^ in direct 
rail and canal communication with the Krupp works at Essen, and 
with enormous wharfage for the accommodation of transports. 
Natural The 200,000 odd square miles of Germany include two very 

OMsions. distinct areas, a northern lowland and a southern highland, the real 

dividing line being the 

mineral-bearing scarp of 
the old " A'^ariscan frag- 
ments" between the 
Ardennes and the Mor- 
avian Gate. The northern 
lowland has a uniformity 
of relief and structure 
which involved a vast ex- 
panse of forested marsh 
in early days, but which 
— once the forest was 
cleared and the marsh 
drained — gave Prussia 
every chance of establish- 
ing a single political unit 


Natural divisions of Germany. 

The southern highland, which is slightly the smaller of the two 
(3 : 4), is also so varied in relief and structure that its political 
destiny was to be partitioned amongst several political units, as its 
economic destiny was a minute subdivision of labour dependent on 
water-power; and there is as much difference between the vivacious 

' The traffic on the canal (coal=7S P-c. down, and ores = 5o p.c. up) increased 
nearly 27 p.c. in 1910 over 1909. 

XX Germany 293 

vine-dresser of the Rhineland and the heavy practical Bavarian 
shepherd or the untidy independent Saxon miner, as between any 
one of these and the bumptious orderly Prussian official. 

Politically, there is further complication, because these highland National 
units include three " Napoleonic " monarchies, which in origin and Unity, 
development were essentially anti-Prussian ; and the lowland plain 
is somewhat Dutch in its political character towards the west and 
markedly Slav towards the east, the " Polish Question " being an 
outward and visible sign of the inherent antagonism between Slavish 
Teutons and Teutonised Slavs. This anti-Slav attitude is by no 
means confined to the Prussians, but is equally strong amongst the 
Saxons. Economically, there is also some complication, not only 
in the somewhat antagonistic interests of the agriculturists of the 
plain and the industrialists of the mineral-bearing scarp, but also 
because of the variety of structure and physique in the highland. 
The linking rift valley of the Rhine (200 miles x 20) is a bit dropped 
out of the once continuous Vosges- Black Forest uplift, and so 
the outer slopes of the two ranges, like the opposite sides of the 
rift itself, are identical in structure and physique ; but, as the sides 
of the rift obviously face steeply towards the river, and as its 
structural floor — once the crest of the whole uplift — is now 
covered with a deep alluvial carpet, its climate and vegetation mark 
it off distinctly from the rest of the highland, whether Variscan 
fragments or Jurassic scarp-lands or Alpine foreland. 

Both lowland and highland in early times felt the pressure of Frontier 
Slavs from the east, the one via the steppe, and the other via the Marks. 
Danube valley ; and in both directions Frontier Marks arose to 
meet the danger. The Eastern Mark, or Austria, arose with its 
back against forested Alp, while the Northern Mark of Branden- 
burg arose in forested marsh, boldly pivoting on the Brenni-bor 
(" Wooded Hill ") which was the sacred capital of the Wends. 
Austria, being the better placed both strategically and economically, 
grew the faster; and, as the danger from Hungary increased, a 
strong Duke was always sent to Vienna, and the need for being always 
ready to meet sudden danger enforced a military tyranny and so 
only increased his strength. Brandenburg by itself, as an "Arch- 
Grand-Sand-Box," had no wealth or other attractions ; but it got 
its chance when Frederick of HohenzoUern used the wealth 
accumulated as Bar- Graf of the Rhine- Danube metropolis of 
Niirnberg, to purchase the Elbe-Oder link-lands along the Spree. 
This was a commanding position for tapping the two relatively 
fertile belts which edge the steppe on the north and the south, and 
which converge where the steppe narrows westward because of 
nearness to the Atlantic. And, as a military unit, its very sterility 
was in its favour. 

The fertile northern belt runs through Prussia, Pomerania, and 

294 The Continent of Europe CH. 

Fertility Mecklenburg, up to Liibeck and Schleswig, and is formed by the 
of Plain, sunny southward slopes of the Baltic ridge ; but, except along the 
great rivers, the soil is not fertile enough to discourage constant 
care and toil. The fertile southern belt runs through Galicia, 
Silesia, and Saxony, up to Hamburg and Holstein ; and the great 
rivers join the two fertile belts across the unfertile one, and are 
themselves practically linked by the Havel-Spree. Obviously, as 
pasture gave place to tillage on the narrowing steppe, patriarchal 
control was bound to weaken, and individualism was bound to be 
encouraged ; but the nomads would settle in very small units, and 
it is significant that still nearly 60 p.c. of the total holdings are less 
than 5 acres, while nearly 90 p.c. are less than 50 acres. It is 
mainly owing to this that fully 90 p.c. of the area has been rendered 
productive by the spade. 
Gravita- While movement inside each belt, therefore, was naturally from 

*^°°^°'^^' east to west, all the belts had a common gravitation northwards to 
the coast ; and so it was easy for little sea-fishing centres at the 
mouths of the great waterways to drain potential artisans from their 
agricultural hinterland, and by their help build up little local 
industries. With the wealth thus gained, it was again easy to buy 
royal protection and other liberties ; and, though at first no single 
centre was equal to undertaking a large contract by itself, the whole 
Trade Area of the Baltic had even in those days common interests. 
From occasional and informal co-operation with immediate neighbours 
for a special purpose, to a formal league for all purposes between all 
the coastal foci and their bases inland, was a short and natural step. 
The only marked exception was in the maze of moor and marsh 
between Elbe and Ems. There an isolated and self-contained people 
perpetuated their fiord instincts as typical fishermen : the rivers 
teemed with fish ; the facilities for water-trafific were so excellent in 
the milder " Atlantic " climate that they long retarded the building 
of roads and other " urban " developments ; and these fishermen 
even avoided one another except when they brought their accumulated 
goods to some shrine which they were bound to attend at the great 
religious festivals — thus " catching two fish on one hook." Cf. p. 320. 
Glaciation The detailed topography of the lowland plain is intimately related 
^r f n ^ '° ^^® action of ice in the Great Ice Age. Not only are very large 
* areas, especially in the north-east, covered with morainic lakes, but 
the successive frontages of the ice, in advance or retreat, left a 
series of concentric arcs of morainic hills more or less parallel with 
the Baltic coast. The most northerly of these, which reaches a 
height of nearly iioo feet in the Turmberg above Danzig, is known 
as the Baltic Ridge, and shut in the first natural hinterland of the 
Hanseatic League. It runs from Flensburg to Lotzen, with deep 
d'jtours landward round the Lower Oder and the Lower Vistula, the 
detour in the latter case providing a background of morainic heights 

XX Germany 295 

for the Prussian frontier east of Thorn, while there is a subordinate 
ridge along the Pomeranian coast. Landward of this Baltic Ridge 
is the valley of an old " glacial " river — represented now, e.g. by the 
Netze-Warthe and by Lake Schwerin — which offers an admirable 
line of least resistance for artificial waterways, e.g. the Bromberg 
and Eberswalde or Finow canals, and which was so swampy that 
for ages it made a natural boundary, e.g. between the original political 
units of Pomerania and Posen or Mecklenburg and Brandenburg. 
The reclaiming of the swamp, which has yielded at least 500 square 
miles of good land along the Oder alone, and regulation of the 
waterways, have removed all the old obstacles to communication 
and political union. 

The second ridge forms the northern boundary of another old Glaciation 
"glacial" river — represented by the Upper Warthe and the Spree — ^^^, 
which has played a similar part ; but its political importance, e.g. as ^ '' 

a Brandenburg frontier, was infinitely less than its commercial 
importance, as linking Liibeck via Berlin and Frankfurt to Posen — 
the political importance of this to-day being as great as its commercial 
importance. A third ridge forms the northern boundary of a similar 
" glacial " river, represented now, e.g. by the Bartsch and the Lower 
Elbe, and connecting Glogau via Potsdam with Hamburg ; and this, 
like the Baltic Ridge, has a short " parallel " complement — over- 
looking the " Black Elster " trough between Breslau and Magdeburg. 
This southern valley was the least favourable to movement east-and- 
west, because it was the most marshy ; but its ridge — which ends 
up against the Liineburg Heath — is relatively low and discontinuous, 
so that it favoured movement north-and-south. And the most 
important centres were bound to be those commanding routes round 
or through the swamps, e.g. Glogau and Brandenburg, especially 
when these stood where the present northward waterways cross the 
old westward waterways, e-g. Frankfurt and Posen. Both these are 
in the central valley, but their importance is now dwarfed by the 
overwhelming importance of Berlin as occupying the centre of the 
whole plain both latitudinally and longitudinally. So, westward all 
the ridges and valleys merge in the dune-girt expanse of moor and 
marsh beyond the Liineburg Heath, where Hamburg monopolises 

The distribution of fertility over the triple formation of coast- Glaciation 
land, ridge, and valley, is itself also related to the action of ice, as an^ 
seen in the fertile stretches of boulder clay or the infertile stretches ® * ^' 
of lake or sand, the rich sugar-beet lands and the poor potato lands ; 
but the preponderance of the infertile — heath and marsli in the 
west, and sand and forest in the east — over the fertile caused the 
political and economic unity of the plain to be retarded, waiting 
for the rise of agricultural and engineering science. So we have 
now in Prussia, as over the whole German Empire, a more or less 


The Continent of Europe 





voluntary association of units whose internal rivalry is no bar to 
unity against external powers. And it is significant that the pre- 
dominance of Prussia should be associated with the stimulus of a 
sterile land which could be made fruitful by toil and care and science. 

The uniformity of the northern plain under the action of ice 
finds a strong contrast in the varied relief of the southern highland, 
which lies as persistently S.W.-N.E. up to the Harz as the plain lies 
S.E.-N.W. down to the North Sea. This variety of relief, like the 
economic value of the various areas, is due mainly to structure : the 
Variscan "fragments" from the Eifel to the Ore Mountains are 
rich in mineral wealth, the rift valley of the Rhine is equally rich 
in agricultural wealth, and both are cut off by the real obstacle of 
the Jurassic ridges from the Alpine foreground, where alone the 
relief of Germany approaches a height of 10,000 feet (fn the 
Zugspitze). South Germany, therefore, is not physically, and was 
not politically, a natural unit ; but the natural pivot of HohenzoUern 
does something to unify the Alpine foreland and the Jura terraces 
with the Rhine valley, while the large proportion of the South 
German frontier which faces a Neutral State has favoured commercial 
union by the peaceful development of industries. 

The great Lake of Constance, too, which ought to have been 
a natural focus for commerce (cf. p. 85), has an obvious relation to 
present political distributions, for Bavaria, Wiirtemberg, and Baden, 
all front on its navigable waters. But Bavaria is naturally a Danube 
area, cut off westward by the Swabian Jura near the head of 
navigation at Ulm, and penetrating across the Franconian Jura only 
in virtue of the historic continuation by land, via Niirnberg to 
the Main, of the essential «<?rM-westward trend of the Danube from 
below Ratisbon. Expansion was easier to than from the north-west ; 
for, though the Danube runs along the south face of the Jura 
limestone, as along the south face of the crystaUine Bohemian Forest, 
the gradient on the south side is much the gentler, the altitude 
20 miles from the water-parting between Ulm and Stuttgart being 
800 feet lower on the northern than on the southern side. Further, 
where the cave-pitted Jura were bent northwards by the resistance 
of the older rock, the special strain caused such weakness at the 
curve that volcanic action and rapid weathering developed the pass 
(1300 feet) which divides the Swabian from the Franconian Jura, 
and by which the Ludwig Canal follows the Regnitz and Altmiihl 
rivers between Bamberg and Kelheim, dropping nearly 400 feet 
below the Danube level before it reaches the Main. 

The Alpine foreground is a high plain of largely morainic 
character, its southern belt being an area of morainic hills and 
lakes, which merges northward in a belt of gravel so porous that 
it can support only deep-rooted plants (e.g. trees) ; and, where the 
gravel gets thin, i.e. northwards again, the underground water comes 

XX Germany 297 

so near to the surface as to cause real swamp, as along the Amper 
and the Isar north of Munich. A safe and healthy site was thus 
found for Miinich between the forested background of the Alps 
and the swampy foreground of the lakes {e.g. Ammer and AViirm), 
commanding east-and-west routes both over its own gravel belt 
and on the rich alluvial lands along the Danube, and north-and- 
south routes converging on the Seefeld Pass and the Brenner. 
Political distributions, however, were decided more by the old north- 
and-south valleys than by the east-and-west ridges or rivers ; and, 
as the Alpine rivers are mainly unnavigable torrents, — though useful 
for floating timber, — they made convenient political frontiers in 
early days, as the Lech did between Swabia and Bavaria. The 
fortunes of Bavaria, too, were associated with the sequence of land- 
forms in the Upper Danube valley, which — like the Alpine Foreland 
— slopes from forested hills, past the marshy gravel flats of, e.g. 
Ingolstadt, to the alluvial plain of Ratisbon. And the natural 
continuation of the general trend from the south-west on this reach 
had access through the Bohemian Forest at the Pass of Fiirth 
(c. 1500 feet) to Pilsen and Prague. 

The water-parting of the oolitic ridges would in any case "throw Oolitic 
off"" human activities, like river-water, in opposite directions — to Ridges- 
Rhine and Danube ; but their influence as an obstacle is increased 
by the somewhat incoherent character of the Umestone rims and 
ridges that shut in isolated clay plains, and by a harsh climate 
which has given the name of Rauhe Alb to the central part of the 
Swabian Jura. This was specially effective in isolating the basin of 
the Neckar, so that Wiirtemberg forms naturally a separate political 
unit on the east of the Black Forest, as Baden does on the west. 
Originally, too, the Franconian Jura formed the natural frontier of 
the Franks, the heart of Francia being the fertile lowlands that 
focus from east and south on Mainz ; and, though the Rhine valley 
led Baden south-eastward through the gap between the Swiss and 
the Swabian Jura, the essential continuity of physique made the 
Swabian Jura the natural northward boundary of the Suevi, as the 
thinly-peopled highland of the Odenwald is the natural northward 
boundary of Baden to-day. 

The northern end of the Franconian Jura abuts, like the Erz Fichtel 
Mountains and the Bohemian and Thuringian Forests, on the focus. 
Fichtel (" Fir Tree ") pivot, which forms an ethnic and hydrographic, 
as well as an orographic, focus ; and the basins of its radiating 
rivers — Saale and Naab, Eger and Main — have had intimate relation 
to the formation of political units, e.g. Bohemia and Thuringia. 
The whole region between the Thuringian Forest and the Harz is 
a succession of trough and ridge, through which the Saale-Weser 
valley gives easy communication more or less east-and-west, and 
from which there is easy communication northward round tlie 


The Continent of Europe 








Harz, e.g. by the Leine or the Saale valley ; but southward the 
Thuringian Forest stretches a barrier much longer than the Harz 
{c. 50 miles, E.— W.) and rising to a height of over 3000 feet. Here, 
too, obviously the easiest gradient was found round the ends of the 
range, via Eisenach and Coburg,^ and this increased the importance 
of the great east-and-west road via Eisenach, Gotha, Erfurt, and 
Weimar (cf. Jena). But various tributaries of the Saale, e.g. the 
Gera and the Ilm, give direct approach to the range from Halle 
and Leipzig via Naumberg ; and their valleys encouraged the 
multiplication of routes and so of petty States. 

The most important of these valleys, at all events in early days, 
was that of the Gera, the " Garden of Erfurt," because it has the 
advantage of a mild climate, with Fohn winds (cf. Quedlinburg, 
N.E. of the Harz) and a very fertile red-marl soil. Eisenach, with 
the harsher climate and the infertile soil of the Werra plateau, still 
commanded the north-and-south route of the Werra valley, as well 
as the east-and-west route round the north end of the range. 
Better known than either are Weimar and Gotha, with their famous 
literary and geographical associations. There was a somewhat 
similar result on the northern side of this belt Here, in the southern 
lee of the Harz, another tributary of the Saale, the Helme, not only 
gives an easy route along the foot of the Harz between Halle and 
Gottingen, but also enjoys a peculiarly mild climate, so that its 
valley is known as the Goldene Aue (" Golden Meadow "). And 
the importance of this fertile area was greatly increased by the 
mineral wealth of the wooded Harz, especially the silver of the 
Upper Harz — now of no importance compared with the iron of the 
Lower Harz. The political importance of the towns here, however, 
is much less than on the Thuringian slopes, because there are no 
cross-routes, and the Helme valley itself is only one small piece 
of the great Unstrat- Leine route that deploys in front of Hanover. 

Between the Thuringian Forest and the Rothaar Mountains, 
the Harz and the Vogelsberg, the Teutoburger Forest and the 
Rhon, lies the core of Germany and the racial home of the Germans. 
For these wooded Hessian highlands were never held by Roman 
or Frenchman or Slav, and have always held the balance, and 
controlled the natural routes, between North and South Germany, 
between the Thuringian States and the Rhenish Palatinate. For 
the volcanic mass of the Vogels separates the Fulda from the 
Wetter and the Lahn, as the volcanic ridge of the Rhon separates 
it from the Werra ; and the seclusion and safety provided in olden 
days by the mountain-girt and forested valleys of the Fulda and 
the Werra, were compatible with facilities for movement between the 
Vogels and the Westerwald or the Spessart which only needed 
railways to be of maximum utility. Thus Frankfurt sends main 
^ Now less important, in this respect, than Lichtenfels. 

XX Germany 299 

lines of rail round the Vogels by both the Wetter and the North 
Kinzig valleys, and the great strategic route via the Lahn and 
Moselle between Marburg and Metz is very nearly a straight line. 
Northward, again, Eder and Fulda and Werra converge on Kassel ; 
and Kassel in turn has wonderful facilities for movement eastward 
and northward, by the Unstrut, the Leine, and the Weser. The 
final exit from the highland is via the Westphalian Gate and 
Mindcn or along the Teutoburger to Osnabriick. Both Osnabriick 
and Hanover, therefore, have become great railway junctions where 
longitudinal and latitudinal lines cross ; and, as Hanover has the 
advantage of a local coal-field and less distance from the North Sea, 
it has now far outstripped its old rival Brunswick, which is practically 
the same distance as Hanover from the Baltic. So, Osnabriick 
occupies somewhat the same relation to movement westward from 
the Leine valley, as Goslar used to occupy to movement eastward. 

The Rhineland consists essentially of two oblong blocks of old Rhine- 
rock, both lying generally S.W.-N.E. — both graved deeply by the l^jid. 
Rhine, the northern block across the " grain " and the southern 
one along it — and both giving a natural route S.W.-N.E., by 
the Moselle- Lahn and the Rhine-Kinzig valleys. The Rhine 
and the Lahn-Moselle gully divide the northern block into four 
sections, of which the north-eastern is much the most important. 
Along the whole of the northern scarp of the block the old rock, 
as in the Ardennes — of which the Eifel is actually a continuation, 
— is rich in metal, and it overlooks a " bay " of fertile lowland 
underlaid and flanked by coal. The southern scarp, though 
characteristically rich in slate in the Hunsriick, where it overlooks 
the Saarbriicken coal-field, is generally much less rich than the 
northern both in metal and in fuel ; but it has some compensation 
in the greater area of volcanic formation, the bleak Eifel being 
much less important than the fertile Taunus, as the hot-springs of 
the latter, e.g. at Wiesbaden, Ems, and Homburg, are more 
numerous than those in the north, e.g. at Aix. 

North of the Lahn-Moselle gully conditions are exceedingly The Ruhr 
favourable to human activity, for the land slopes down — from the I^istrict. 
breezy, healthy highlands of Eifel and Westerwald — both to the great 
waterway and to the North Sea through an ore-bearing scarp and 
a fertile lowland flanked by coal, and for ores and fuel and crops 
alike there is easy movement to all points of the compass. As the 
highland rises eastward, the rainfall is as heavy there as in the 
west ; and the great cities that have risen along the lines of 
movement draw excellent stone and timber from the wooded 
heights that also give them health. The basins of the Ruhr and the 
Sieg are specially important, not only because they are exceedingly 
rich in minerals, but also because they are fed from the highest 
and most northerly, i.e. most exposed, part of the highland, and 

300 The Continent of Europe ch. 

yet give very easy access round it, e.g. by the Sieg to the Lahn and 
the Eder, and by the Ruhr to the Eder and the Diemel In the looo 
square miles that form the immediate hinterland of the " 50 " miles 
during which the Ruhr is cutting through coal, there is a population 
of over 3,000,000, including a dozen cities that reach or exceed 
100,000 : 

Dusseldorf, 360,000. 
Duisburg-Ruhrort, 230,000. 

{Elberfeld, 190,000. 
Barmen, 170,000. 
Crefeld, 130,000. 
Recklinghausen, 110,000. 

Essen, 300,000. 
Dortmund, 215,000. 
Gelsenkirchen, 180,000. 
Bochum, 140,000. 
Mulheim, 115,000. 
Hagen, 100,000. 

And just outside this ring are Cologne {520,000) and Aix (160,000). 
Eift The southern block of the whole area dropped a central strip 

J^?y to form a rift valley parallel to its axis, but was not broken across 
transversely, so that the outer edges of the block present a different 
appearance, and have had a different history, — sinking, not in an 
abrupt scarp as in Westphalia, but in more or less gentle terraces 
somewhat similar to those in which the Swabian Jura sink to the 
Danube. But, while the old hard rock extends much farther in 
the Black Forest than in the Vosges, and falls — in the lee of the 
range — to the relative poverty of the Upper Neckar valley, the 
windward western terraces fall to the fertile flats of the Moselle 
and the rich iron-fields of Lorraine. Here was the irresistible 
attraction in 1871 — of a warm, sunny wineland, with rich deposits 
of iron along the west bank of the river and of salt along the east 
bank (Chateau Salins), and even with the Saarbriicken coal crossing 
the political frontier to Forbach. But the Romance tongue of 
Lorraine, like its political inheritance, is firmly based in the Roman 
occupation of the land behind Treves (Augusta Trevirorum), and 
cannot be displaced in a generation. 
Its Exits. The general direction of this southern block, as shown by the 

rift valley which ends northward at Frankfurt, is from south-west to 
north-east, i.e. as distinctly towards the Baltic as the direction of 
the Bingen Gorge through the northern block is towards the 
North Sea ; and this gave additional importance to the Burgundy 
Gate (it 50 feet) below the frowning heights of the Jura {c. 5000 
feet), as the direction of the Lower Rhine gave additional importance 
to the Main connection with Ratisbon. The dip between the 
Vosges and the Hardt is not much higher (1325 feet) than the 
Burgundy Gate — though the Rhine and Marne Canal goes through 
a tunnel — and so the valley of the Zabern gives an easy route 
between Strassburg and Lorraine, while movement eastward finds a 
fairly easy route up the valley of the South Kinzig to Ulm, and a still 
easier one round the north end of the Black Forest at Karlsruhe. 
The climate is more or less continental everywhere, but reflects 




accidentally the fundamental S.W.-N.E. trend of the old rock of Tempera- 
the country, extremes increasing towards the nortli-east. Thus, *'^^®- 
the average annual temperature is 53° F. in the south-west, 49° F. 
in the centre, and 43° F. in the north-east ; and the range of 
temperature shows the same general tendency, increasing more with 
distance from the sea than with distance from the equator. The 
actual range is due to excess of cold rather than of heat, for the 
warmer latitude is counteracted by the higher altitude except in 
the Rhine valley; and uncongenial springs — due to the amount 
of snow and ice that have to be melted — greatly shorten the 
summers in the Baltic provinces. The average range is 42° F. in 
the north-east, and 30° F. in the north-west ; in the centre of the 
north it is 35° F., and in the centre of the south 38° F. — distance 
from the sea being in the latter case the predominant influence 
in winter, while latitude is predominant in summer. The mean 
January temperature varies from 22° F. near Insterburg up to 34° F. 
near Cologne ; and Cologne has also the highest mean temperature 
in July (68° F.), while the lowest is on the Schleswig peninsula. 
The extreme January temperature is in the extreme north on the 
Russian frontier, e.g. Konigsberg having 7° F., while the extreme 
July temperature is on the Rhine lowland at the end of the Black 
Forest, e.g. Heidelberg having 93° F. There are, therefore, two 
exceptional areas — the north-west and 
the rift valley. West of the Elbe the 
mean summer temperature is not much 
above 60° F., while the mean winter 
temperature is above 30° F. — west of 
the Weser even above 32° F. ; and in 
the rift valley shelter and latitude and 
altitude combine ^ to give the highest 
average temperature for the year, in- 
cluding both the highest summer 
temperature and the highest winter 
temperature. It was these conditions, 
coupled with the unfailing water- 
supply and the fertile soil, that made it the Palatinate (" Land of 
Palaces "). Roughly, then, we may note four climatic areas — one of 
warm summers and cool winters in the north-west, one of very warm 
summers and very cold winters in the north-east, one of very warm 
summers and cold winters in the south, and one of hot summers 
and cool winters in the rift valley. The last, of course, intrudes 
through the previous belt, for the Lorraine plateau practically 
corresponds to Upper Bavaria (a winter extreme of 25° F.), as the 
Vosges correspond to the Jura. 

^ This is also true of the lowlands of Main, Moselle, and Neckar, with an aver- 
age summer temperature above 66° F. and an average winter temperature above 32° F. 

F- M III "»I »>• Mat //•.g.i.lUjc Sl>. Oct. «> Die In] 






















1 . 












— -1 









-.= av" '—. 


Hamburo Aerun 

Mean monthly temperature and rain- 
fall curves for Hamburg and Berlin. 


The Continent of Europe 


Rainfall. The range of rainfall, as of temperature, is modified by the 

fact that the lower latitudes have the higher altitudes ; it is also 
modified by the fact that no uplift in the west is sufficiently high 
or continuous to cut off the wet west winds entirely from the 
eastern part of the plain. The rain is not limited to any season, 
but most falls in summer (cf p. 56), only the extreme west 
having any appreciable winter rains, and only the coast-lands having 
any considerable rains in autumn — when the sea is still warm, 
but the land has been chilled. The fall generally may be com- 
pared with that in the south-eastern quadrant of England. On 
the higher parts of the west, from the Harz southward and including 
the Alpine foreland, it averages 34 inches; on the intermediate 
levels in the west and the higher parts of the east (Erz and Sudetes), 
as on the lower levels in the extreme north-west, it averages 31 
inches ; on the exposed lower levels of the north-east it averages 
24 inches, decreasing southward even on the slightly higher levels, 
e.g. in Brandenburg and Lusatia, Saxony and Silesia ; and it 
reaches a minimum of 16 inches on parts of the sheltered wine- 
lands in the Middle Rhine " basin," with a maximum of over 80 
on the Vosges heights which give the shelter. Here, too, the fact 
that vintage-time is remarkable for the absence of rain and the 
presence of warmth is of prime importance to the vine-growers, as 
the high percentage of bright sunshine is to the beet-growers 
between the Oder and the Elbe. 

The relation of these climatic conditions to the general relief 
is more favourable to communication by canal than by river ; for 
while the relief is very favourable to the construction of canals link- 
ing the great rivers together (cf. p. 295), the climate is scarcely 
favourable either to continuous navigation or to uniform volume. 
Rhine, Elbe, and Oder, all have a course of nearly 500 miles in 
Germany ; but only the Rhine is free from serious interruption 
by ice or by low water, and the regime of even the Rhine has 
been affected adversely by the clearing of the old forest. 

The Oder. The Oder is relatively the least useful of the large rivers, 

mainly because of its exposure to frost and because of the nearness 
of its channel to the " Giant " Mountains in its upper course. It 
rises only some 2000 feet above the sea, and has a total length of 
560 miles; but it has a rapid fall in its Austrian course, and 
receives a number of mountain torrents, e.g. the Neisse, through 
its left bank in Silesia, so that there are frequent floods. Its right 
bank tributaries, on the other hand, e.g. the Warthe-Netze, have 
relief conditions which would be very favourable to transport, 
if they were not unfavourable to precipitation, so that the main 
stream suffers normally from lack of depth in summer. The 
floods carry with them quantities of silt, which have contributed 
to the fertility of the riverine lowlands, e.g. the Oderbriich below 

River v. 




the confluence of the Warthe, but which are constantly obstruct- 
ing the waterway.^ Important works have been undertaken to 
improve the conditions, e.g. (i) canalisation to enable barges 
"always" to reach Ratibor and larger vessels to reach Breslau ; (2) 
link -canals, such as the Oder -Spree canal from Fiirstenberg 
to Fiirstenwalde (cf. the Finow Canal to the Havel, and the 
Bromberg Canal to the Vistula) ; and (3) regulation of the mouth 
in order to concentrate the whole force of the current on the 
Swine channel, so as to make it available for large ocean vessels to 
Swinemiinde. In its picturesque upper course the river acts as a 
political frontier between Prussian and Austrian Silesia; and its 
chief " flood-foci," e.g. Glogau and Klistrin, in early days became 
important strategic centres, and are now heavily fortified. Frank- 
furt is the natural pivot of the basin. 

The Elbe has obvious advantages over the Oder in length and The Elbe, 
climate, and over the Rhine in having its lower as well as its 

Site of Hamburg. 

middle course in Germany. Indeed, its historical associations are 
as Teutonic as its name. Its upper course is dotted with strategic 
crags such as those of Lilienstein and Konigstein, and with battle- 
fields, such as those of Magdeburg and Dessau, Dresden and Pirna ; 
its middle course has acted as an important frontier to various 
political units past and present, e.g. Hanover and Prussia, Mecklen- 
burg and Brandenburg ; and its lower course has had profound 
political and commercial importance since the days when it was 
a bulwark against Slav and Viking. The strategic importance of 
the gorge through the Mittelgebirge basalt and the Saxon sandstone 
is focused at Pirna, and the commercial importance of its middle 
course begins where it drops on to the lowland north of Meissen, 
Dresden holding the balance ; and from Dresden, where the river 
is nearly 1000 feet wide, it has a total fall of only 280 feet in the 
whole 430 miles of its course to the sea. One adverse result 
of this is that in the last 100 miles, during which it has to struggle 

^ The spring and summer floods on the Vistula cause precisely similar trouble. 


The Continent of Europe 




Rhine : 

with the tide, its bed is much troubled by sand ; and its meander- 
ing course over the plain leads to the dissipation of strength in 
numerous branches, especially in the Hamburg reach. But the 
fact that these reunite at Blankensee, and careful artificial regulation 
of the river, minimise the difficulty ; and the construction of link- 
canals, e.g. between Elbe and Havel, between Elbe and Trave, the 
canalisation of tributaries such as the Saale, and the laying of a 
towing-cable from Hamburg to Aussig, have helped to give the 
river the largest fleet of river craft in Germany, in spite of its lack 
of depth and its liability to periodic floods. 

Historically the Weser has been even more interesting than the 
Elbe (cf. p. 291), but its conditions were adverse to its progress, for — 
before 1866 — the joint stream (Weser-Werra-Fulda) passed through 
no less than thirty-five separate political stages, representing the rival 
claims and rights of a number of separate States. Its course as far as 
Minden is picturesque, but has a rapid fall, while in its lower reaches 
it is sluggish and shallow, uninteresting and subject to drought. But 
here again Prussian organisation has made vast improvements, — by 
canals, e.g. to Elbe and Ems, by canalisation, e.g. near Cassel, and 
by very extensive works on the estuary, where — before 1894 — the 
depth at low water did not reach 2 feet. 

The Rhine was for centuries, and still is, the chief natural 
waterway of Europe ; and the causes which made it predominant 
in early days, have more or less justified the improvements which 
account for its predominance to-day. Besides its natural advan- 
tages, it inherited a Roman organisation, and eventually took the 
place of the Roman roads as the great Mid - European link 
(cf. p. 262); and even the discovery of the New World, which 
affected so greatly most transport routes and foci, scarcely affected 
the Rhine at all except that supreme control of the through 
route passed from its southern termini in Venice and Genoa 
to northern termini in Antwerp and Amsterdam. That is to say, 
traffic began to go up-stream rather than down-stream ; and to-day 
it is predominantly "up-stream," four-fifths of the traffic down- 
stream from Mannheim going empty ! Again, its traffic in early 
days was essentially a " road " traffic, and so it suffered in the same 
way as the Roman roads from bad weather. Now boats are towed 
both up and down, because drifting down-stream is both too slow 
and too dangerous ; but then, in the less crowded state of the river, 
they drifted down-stream, and were only towed up-stream — with or 
without the help of sails in each case. But, while towing is now 
done usually by a tug, it was done in those days from the tow- 
path ; and, as only small boats were used, lowness of water was a 
trifle, and the one trouble was from flood. Here, again, all is 
changed. And it was profoundly fortunate that, at the critical 
time in the history of the river, it was so specifically French that it 

XX Germany 305 

received uniform attention throughout both in improvement of 
waterway and in simplification of tolls, etc. At the same time, in 
the transition, towns which owed their importance to staple rights 
and rights of transfer,^ e.g. Mainz, sank into relative insignificance ; 
thus Mainz became less important than Frankfurt northwards and 
than Mannheim southwards. 

The river is now open to boats of all nations, and no tolls The 
are exacted for ordinary navigation on the main stream ; the latter Rhine : 
is kept wholly for navigation, no dams or sluices being allowed ; and 
enormous improvements have been made in the waterway itself, 
especially by Prussia. Moreover, from its very position and 
direction, the river deals specifically with foreign trade, which 
accounts for two -thirds of the total movement on it, the one 
great exception in the list of important articles being the coal that 
is carried up-stream from the Ruhr basin. Another feature is that 
the trade is largely in bulk, especially towards the north, e.g. grain 
and ore, building material and coal ; and this has an important 
relation to the size of boat and the method of transport. Boats 
carrying less than c. 600 tons do not pay on the main stream, and 
yet they can seldom be used on the tributaries. Indeed, the latter 
seldom can take boats of more than 400 tons, and this limit is not 
nearly reached on the normally navigable portions of the Lahn or 
the Lippe, the Ruhr or the Moselle. Traffic, therefore, tends to 
come to the main stream by rail, and this involves at once other 
considerations, e.g. of transfer and of limit of draught. Barges of 
as much as 4000 tons burden are actually used, but the standard 
is c. 1500; and the reason lies in the character of the river-bed. 
For 80 miles of gorge separate 220 miles of rift valley from 230 
miles of lowland plain; and, while a width of 200-300 feet is 
easily provided in the valley or on the plain, scarcely 80 can 
be obtained in the gorge. This means that real safety forbids 
the regular use of boats more than 40 feet wide; and this 
practically implies a length of not much more than 300 feet, a 
draught (loaded) of 9 feet, and a capacity of 2000 tons. Of course 
big boats pay best even at low water, because the variation in 
draught is relatively less than that in capacity, and rates are then 
highest ; and the rough loading of coal from " tips " soon proved 
so destructive to the old wooden barges that they have been re- 
placed by steel ones, which of course are lighter and draw less water. 

But it is stated that transfer from rail to river pays only when River and 
the goods are in bulk and going a long way (at least 50 miles), R*^^- 
unless the relations between rail and river media are very close and 

' "Staple" right prevented goods being carried past the town without being 
exposed for sale, and ' ' transfer " right prevented them from being carried past in a 
boat not owned by the town, the only and occasional exception being at fair-time. 
Cf. Clapp's Navigable Rhine. 



The Continent of Europe 


tions of 

very friendly. This is the case in South Germany, where goods for 
or from Rhine-transport receive the minimum rate on the railway 
before or after transfer ; but on the Prussian railways the case is 
different, for the interests of rail and river here are often antagonistic, 
as those of Hamburg and Bremen are to those of Rotterdam and 
Antwerp. The only obvious exception is in the case of Rhine 
sea-trafhc ; but that is only open permanently to steamers drawing 
not more than about 7^ feet when loaded, and they can only reach 
Cologne, e.g. from London. Even if the depth were permanently 
increased and curves were widened, these small steamers are 
relatively costly to work (cf. p. 66). 

The traffic is, therefore, predominantly river-traffic and done by 
barge ; and the typical barge-trains (4 or 5 barges, aggregating 
c. 6000 tons) are a response to the conditions of navigation. The 
Rhine being an ice-fed river, low-water is not a trouble except in 
autumn, when, unfortunately, there is most traffic ; but ice, fogs, 
and floods do cause trouble. The low-water and the flood troubles 
will be removed by the canalisation of the river from Basel to 
Lake Constance, for the lake can easily be made into a reservoir 
which will regulate the flow ; but any attempt to regulate the pace 
of the river, which is the great drawback above Mannheim, will 
only increase the ice-trouble. A tug which has brought four or 
five barges from Rotterdam to Mannheim (350 miles) in four or 
five days, and can take them back in three or four days, can only 
take two of them on to Strassburg (80 miles), and requires two 
days for the journey ; and the journey is only possible at all for 
five or six months in each year, while the total load must not exceed 
c. 2000 tons. From Strassburg to Basel {80 miles) the difficulty 
is still greater, the load limit being c. 700 tons, and the time limit 
three or four months. North from Mannheim, however, conditions 
are very different, and the river is a scene of very busy traffic. 
Indeed, the largest port, Duisburg-Ruhrort (including the railway 
harbour of Hochfeld), which does specially a "bulk" trade,^ has 
a water traffic greater than the whole ocean traffic of Hamburg ; 
and Mannheim (including Ludwigshafen and the railway harbour 
of Rheinau), which does specially a " piece " trade, has a water 
traffic twice that of the whole ocean traffic of Bremen. Of course, 
Duisburg, which is only 130 miles from Rotterdam, is the port of 
the "Black Country"; and Mannheim, though 350 miles from 
Rotterdam, has, as natural head of navigation, an enormous 
hinterland stretching from France into Austria and as far south 
as Italy (cf. p. 328). But obviously the natural resources and needs 
of the area must be such as are well served by river traffic. 

Two points deserve special attention. One is that four-fifths 

' Duisburg lists only a dozen special articles, while Mannheim lists four or five 
dozen. Between them they do c. 75 p.c. of all the Rhine trade. See Clapp. 

XX Germany 307 

of the up-stream trafific is in iron ore {c. 60 p.c, of Germany's total Political 
import), grain, coal, and timber, and that about half of the down- Rivalry, 
stream traffic is coal, and nearly one-sixth is building materials, e.g. 
bricks from between Mannheim and Speyer, or stone from 
Badenheim. The other is the influence of political rivalry. This 
is seen both in the inter-relations of the various river ports and in 
the relation of all of them to outside seaports. Thus political 
rivalry on the river itself has led to the development of rival ports 
on opposite banks and on every natural reach of the river; and 
the rivalry has led to continuous progress both industrial and 
commercial. This is not confined to purely political rivalry, e.g. 
between Strassburg (Alsace) and Kehl (Baden), or Ludwigshafen 
(Bavarian Palatinate) and Mannheim (Baden), or between the 
Wiesbaden ports of Frankfurt and Kastel and the Hessian ports 
of Offenbach and Mainz, but is also found inside the Rhine 
Province, e.g. between Cologne and Miilheim or Neuss and 

The outside rivalry works by rail and canal, and is focused Northern 
on the North Sea coast, where the great shipping companies of Relations. 
Antwerp and Bremen and Hamburg have a great lever in their 
large fleets and their old-established trade relations, and are all as 
jealous of the Dutch ports as the Prussian State Railway is of the 
river. Thus, the Rhine- and -Marne canal gives Antwerp more 
hold on the upper part of the Middle Rhine than the Dortmund- 
Ems canal gives to Emden on the lower part ; and the Midland 
Canal from Ruhrort to Hanover will serve Bremen as well, via 
Minden, as the Dortmund-Ems canal serves Emden. Under these 
circumstances, Emden seems to have little chance against Antwerp 
or Bremen ; but the Rhine trafific has an obvious advantage. 
With the railways the case is rather different. Rhine barges 
usually travel from Rotterdam to Mannheim as fast as any 
ordinary goods trains ; but, when all transfer charges and deteriora- 
tion risks {e.g. of coal in " tipping ") are taken into account, it 
seems that railway transport is always normally cheaper than 
transport by inland waterway. The two together have enabled full 
advantage to be taken of the central site, and have greatly helped 
to unify an area where complex highlands and radiating rivers in 
olden days were the main causes of political division. Cf. pp. 212, 255. 

The different attitudes to the transport problem in North and Southern 
South Germany are based on a geographical foundation. In the Relations, 
north the rivers flow uniformly, and more or less parallel to one 
another, northwards ; and some of the chief towns are specific- 
ally between two great rivers, e.g. Berlin. Economic needs and 
physical features, therefore, alike encourage the construction of 
link canals, — though the " Agrarian " party are hostile to any 
development which in their opinion would be adverse to the 


The Continent of Europe 


interests of local agriculture, and prefer congested railways to the 
cheap import of grain by canal. In the south, on the other hand, 
rivers flow in various and opposite directions ; and the torrential 
character of many of them is more favourable to the development 
of "power" than of navigation, while the relief is less favourable 
to the construction of canals. Political influences also are at work. 
For instance, the Neckar, though essentially a Wiirtemberg river, 
empties through Baden, and the Bavarian Main empties through 
Prussian territory; on the contrary, Augsburg and Niirnberg, 

Agricultural map of Germany. 

Mulhausen and Esslingen, are noted for their electrical machinery 
and apparatus. 
Fanning. About half the total area of the country is under cultivation, 

while fully a quarter is under forest ; and there is a natural 
antagonism of interest between the purely agricultural and purely 
industrial areas, based largely on the demand for labour and on 
the fact that Germany cannot provide herself with all the food she 
needs. Indirectly, the lack of labour for farm-work has led to a 
wide use of machinery ; but it has also led directly to a large 
import of foreign (Polish) labour. There is also a natural 
antagonism between the less fertile lands of the north and the 

XX Germany 309 

more fertile lands of the south, distinguished generally as grain 
lands and wine lands ; and it is in the Elbe valley that the 
potash deposits exist which are " the sheet-anchor of German 
agriculture." The most important crops of the northern plain are 
wheat and rye, sugar-beet and potatoes ; and it is mainly the root 
crops that have been responsible for the wide manufacture of 
alcohol and starch and for the decrease of sheep compared with 
cattle, fed on the "refuse." The number of sheep has dropped 
since 1871 from 25,000,000 to 7,000,000; and, on the other hand, 
there are 300 potato-starch factories in Silesia, Brandenburg, and 
Mecklenburg. To the north-east, too, flax becomes a typical 
product — wherever the Scotch fir is abundant, as sugar-beet is 
associated with the beech. Alsace and the Palatinate are much 
the most important wine-growers, while Bavaria is the great wood- 
grower, being the only part of the empire which — with 95 acres 
for every 100 persons — can supply all its own needs.^ Obviously, 
areas with abundance of soft-wood and water-power, e.g. the Harz 
and Thuringian forests, have special advantages for the manu- 
facture of paper in all its forms, including pasteboard toys, etc. ; 
and Bavaria still has the largest "paper" centre in Germany, 

Again, the northern part of the country is specially associated Mining, 
with mineral wealth, e.g. the coal and iron of Westphalia and 
Rhenish Prussia, and the metals of the Harz and Silesia. But the 
most typical product is the potash. A large area, including the 
plains on every side of the Harz, contains enormous beds of rock- 
salt above or amongst deposits of potassium minerals, held in place 
and so preserved by an extensive sheet of impervious clay. To 
the east of the Harz is the famous Anhalt district with its centre 
at Stassfurt, where the " Rubbish-salts " — as they were called fifty 
years ago — were first found ; to the north are the Brunswick and 
Hanover districts, the latter a scene of great activity; to the 
south is the Nordhausen district ; and less important deposits 
exist in the west of the Thuringian Forest. These give Germany 
easily accessible supplies of what is almost a world-monopoly ; and 
they are the definite link between agriculture and industries. For 
they consist mainly of carnallite and kainite — the former easily 
soluble and therefore naturally suited for industrial purposes, the 
latter ready for use as a fertiliser. 

The northern plain has a unity of relief even on a rainfall map, Unity of 
the slight elevations, e.g. of the Liineberg Heath, the Flaming or Prussian 
the Baltic Heights, being faithfully reflected in a slight increase of 
rainfall ; but it contains a considerable variety of political units 
with considerable variety of geographical conditions. For instance. 

^ The limit for this is said to be eighty-five acres for loo persons ; in the British 
Isles the proportion is not eight acres to the loo persons. 

3IO The Continent of Europe ch. 

while East Prussia is a typical morainic lake-land, West Prussia is 
a fertile carse ; while Pomerania includes the less fertile lower 
" basin " of the Oder, Silesia occupies its more fertile upper " basin." 
So, Brandenburg pivots on the flood-lands of Spree and Havel, while 
the Province of Saxony includes the Golden Mead and other 
fertile valleys. The unity of relief and climate has, however, 
outweighed all other influences, — religious, linguistic, and even 
racial, so that to-day there is marked unity of national type and 
even some approximation to a German physique. 
"German" No doubt the type on the ocean border is distinctly different 
Physical from that on the forested heights of the Vosges and the Black 
Type. Forest, the tall Longheads of the north-west being of very pure 
Teutonic type, while the stocky Roundheads of the south-west 
are purely Alpine ; but these extreme types are exceptional, the 
normal type being an intermediate one — seen at its best in that 
most typically German area, the Weser highlands. This inter- 
mediate type is intermediate specially in height and head-form, the 
mixture of race in it being betrayed by the disharmony between 
the round Alpine head and the long Nordic face ; and the fact 
that the one influence came in from the north while the other 
came in from the east, is still reflected in the regional variations. 
The natural route for the Teutons to move south by was the Weser 
basin, which brought them into the " basin " of the Middle 
Rhine ; and the relative tallness and fairness of the people in 
the rift valley and the Main and Neckar basins must be attributed 
to this influence. Naturally, too, the older inhabitants — real 
Alpines, of round head and stocky frame — were pressed up 
into the less accessible and less fertile heights, in the Vosges, the 
Black Forest, and the Jura, where pure Alpine types are still 
normal. The natural route for the Slav (Alpine) people to move 
west by was the unfertile plain ; but the infertility was always 
favourable to speedy, if not premature, " saturation " — as well as to 
limited rights of inheritance, e.g. to primogeniture — and the over- 
flow had easiest access to the fertile south by the Saale basin. In 
this case, however, it was the Slav people who were pressing ; and 
here, therefore, it was the older Teutonic people that were pressed 
up into the highlands, e.g. in Thuringia, leaving permanent traces 
of themselves in the relative tallness of the modern Thuringians. 
In both cases the influence spread along lines of least resistance, 
Slav influence spreading via the Oder through Brandenburg and 
Mecklenburg, while Teutonic influence spread vm the Rhine to the 
Burgundy Gate. The darker colour of the real Alpine grass-lander 
is reflected in the more Slavic areas even of the north, e.g. 
Brandenburg, as the lighter colour of the forester- fisherman is 
reflected in the more Teutonic areas even in the typically Alpine 
climate, e.g. in Hohenzollern ; but colour is relatively transient, and 

XX Prussia 311 . 

so we find blonde colouring everywhere within reach of the sea, even 
to the Russian frontier, and wherever else humidity — with or 
without much shade — is high. Thus, even amongst the short, 
stocky Roundheads of the Vosges or the Black Forest — with the 
maximum rainfall in the empire (a mean of 80-83 inches) — in the 
most secluded part of the forested heights one person in three is 
distinctly fair. 


Fully three-fifths of Prussia belongs to the Great European 
Plain, forming a wedge of lowland that narrows westward until 
at the Westphalian Gate it is only 100 miles wide. The total 
population is about the same as that of England, the non-German- 
speaking element not being more than 10 p.c. of the whole; the 
local density is greatest in the mining and manufacturing part of 
the Rhine area, closely followed by the similar areas in Saxony 
(where the density is less "local," cf. p. 335) and Silesia. 

The railway mileage, though very high (5 miles per 10,000 Strategic 
persons), has little or no relation to this dense population, as its "Control." 
fundamental principle is strategic ; that is to say, an enormous 
proportion of the total mileage represents trunk lines radiating from 
Berlin impartially in all directions or running along the political 
frontiers. Indirectly, however, this has a valuable economic influence. 
For the surface qualities of the area are very diverse, rather less than 
one-third being good, rather more than one-third being fair, and just 
one-third being simply sand ; and, apart from strategic considera- 
tions, there was little in the barren sands of the north-east or in the 
barren heaths of the north-west to attract railways. But the spread 
of railways through these districts has been of real service, e.g. to 
the great rye and oat lands of the north-east. Agriculture generally 
has also profited by the — more or less consequent — spread of beet- 
growing for sugar, for the deep cultivation necessary leaves the soil in a 
magnificent condition for succeeding crops, e.g. barley and chicory. 
At least equally valuable has been the influence of compulsory 
military training, e.g. on habits of obedience, punctuality, attention 
to detail; and both in agriculture and in manufacturing industries 
the Prussians came into the field so late that they were able to 
make a fair start on lines dictated by the previous experience of 
other nations, who have been handicapped in their subsequent 
competition by the difficulty of getting rid of estabhshed procedure 
which that experience has proved to be inferior. 

Physical history, climate, and position have all been somewhat East 
adverse to the progress of East Prussia. Though one of the Prussia, 
largest provinces, and sharing in the general character of the 
great plain, it has only one important town, Konigsberg (cf. p. 288). 
It is a morainic lake-land, sloping down to a dune-fringed and 

312 The Continent of Europe ch. 

Haff-fronted coastal plain from the lake-strewn plateau of the Seen- 
platte, which rises in the south-west to looo feet. About one-fifth is 
covered with coniferous forests, which support wood industries, e.g. 
at AUenstein, and in which wolves are still found ; there is a 
large area of barren sand or bog ; and the climate is the coldest 
in Germany, the mean January temperature of Tilsit being only 
25° F. At the same time, thanks to the alluvial lands along the 
Niemen, Pregel, and Passarge, about half the area is under cultiva- 
tion, mainly with rye, potatoes, and flax — the last specially in the 
Passarge basin, which is specifically Roman Catholic in creed. 
But the two characteristic products of the province are the amber 
of Samland and horses, the chief Government stud-farm of all 
Germany being near Gumbinnen. 
West West Prussia resembles East Prussia in several fundamental 

Prussia, features. A large portion of it is occupied by the Baltic plateau, 
which again rises to 1086 feet (in the Turmberg) ; there is a large 
area of moor, especially in the west (cf. the Tuchel Heath) ; fully 
one-fifth is covered with coniferous forest ; and the pastures are good, 
another Government stud -farm existing at Marienwerder. But, 
though rye and potatoes are still the chief crops, the proportion 
of arable land is higher, and there is much more variety of crop, 
including sugar-beet. The reasons for this are that, just because of 
the wide -spread floods on the Vistula, there is a much larger 
proportion of fertile alluvium than in East Prussia ; and the climate 
is less harsh. The cheap labour which has helped to develop the 
industries of Danzig and Elbing, is due to the fact that Poles spread 
down the Vistula valley so easily that they now occupy a very large 
proportion of the centre of the province, numbering n 35 p.c. of its 
total population. Thorn was originally made a stronghold by the 
Teutonic Order ^ because it was the lowest place where the Vistula 
was capable of being permanently bridged in those days ; and the 
same cause made it a Hanseatic centre. Modern bridge-building, 
by giving a bridge "control" to Dirschau and Grandenz, made 
them great railway junctions. 
Pomer- The long straggling province of Pomerania (" On the Sea ") well 

deserves its name, and in the early days of its history it stretched 
even farther along the coast, including Pomerellen or West Prussia 
eastward and Slavinia or Mecklenburg westward. But its position 
between Sweden and Brandenburg and its old division into Vor- 
pommern (or Nearer Pomerania) and Hinterpommern (or Farther 
Pomerania) involved it in such constant hostilities with the Bran- 
denburg Electors, such devastation in the Thirty Years' War, and 
such endless redistribution of territory between its two native 
dukes, that its progress was terribly hindered. Nor did its phy- 
sical conditions help. Though it includes a typical belt of the 
^ Marienburg was the headquarters of the Grand Master. 


XX Prussia 313 

Baltic Lake Plateau, it is one of the flattest areas in all Germany 
and correspondingly marshy ; and even where there is neither lake 
nor marsh, the soil is thin and sandy. Its typical activities are, 
therefore, in four directions. The enormous original expanse of 
" bog " is now represented by very extensive peat-bogs ; the great 
portion of "lagoon" coast-line and of lake (2V of the area) is very 
favourable to fishing — the lampreys being famous — and to the 
rearing of aquatic fowl, especially geese ; and a busy commerce 
centres on the Lower Oder. 

The latter was the centre of early civilisation, Christianity 
reaching the area — characteristically — via the island of Wollin 
(John), as the commercial centre is now divided between the island 
of Usedom (Swinemiinde) and the head of the estuary (Stettin). 
The " Bodden " coast farther west was equally favourable to civilising 
influences from the sea. Both Stralsund, which is still a flourishing 
harbour, and Greifswald, with its famous old Church-reared uni- 
versity, were important Hanseatic centres ; they are both typically 
on the mainland side of the Strela Sund ; and the island of Riigen, 
the capital of which is at a little railway junction called Bergen, was 
even in heathen times a Holy Island. 

For practical purposes Posen is the " basin " of the Middle Posen. 
Warthe, the general low level being broken by low lines or wedges 
of disconnected hills between the main stream and its Netze and 
Obra tributaries ; and the natural result is a labyrinth of swamps 
and bogs, e.g. the Obrabriich, which is the old course and therefore 
the natural link — now canalised — between the Warthe, as it leaves 
Poland, and the Oder, as it enters Brandenburg. Though much of 
the soil is light and sandy, the reclaimed lands are distinctly fertile ; ' 
and over 60 p.c. of the total area is under cultivation, even hops 
and tobacco being grown, while nearly 60 p.c. of population is 
returned as rural. The majority are Poles and belong to the 
Roman Church, and the relations between them and their Prussian 
rulers have been not only a great obstacle to progress, but a 
notorious scandal. Even within the last 10 years Polish parents 
have been imprisoned for withdrawing their children from religious 
instruction given by Prussians (apparently Protestants) in German, 
and the children have been thrashed for refusing to say the Lord's 
Prayer in German. This is a natural sequel to the Partition of 
Poland, and a comment on the folly of having a river (the Prosna) 
as a frontier in an area where international relations are not easy. 

Even Posen, the old capital of Great Poland, illustrates the 
racial and political tension, for the river flows due north through 
the district, and the old Polish town, like the modern Polish quarter, 
is on the east bank, while the Prussian town, which arrogates the 
title of Alstadt (" Old Town "), is on the west bank. The site in 
the centre of a wide sandy plain was quite suitable for the capital of a 


The Continent of Europe 


Silesia : 

Silesia : 

kingdom which included also the upper " basin " of the Warthe ; 
but both trade and industry have been cramped since it became a 
first-class frontier fortress near to a great tarift' barrier. As a fortress, 
on the other hand, it is strongly defended by the marshy banks of 
its sluggish, navigable river. Bromberg, the great industrial and 
commercial rival of Posen, has a somewhat similar position to the 
west of the Vistula ; and, as the great westward elbow of the Vistula 
at the confluence of the Brahe, makes the town the natural terminus 
of a canal to the Elbe via the Netze, so the southward drainage 
of the Netze from the Baltic Lake Plateau gives it easy access 
northwards (cf. the similar position of Schneidemiihl — at the head 
of navigation — on the southward draining Kiiddow). 

Silesia is the largest province of Prussia, with an area half the 
size of Ireland. A straight line — called the Langental — ^joining 
the course of the Malapane to the general course of the Black 
Elster, and followed by the railway from Oppeln via Breslau and 
Liegnitz to Bautzen, divides the province into parts, lowland and 
highland, the latter subdivided by the Upper Oder into two sections. 
Between the Malapane and the southern frontier the Tarnowitz 
plateau, which is an outlier of the Carpathians with an average 
height of c. looo feet, has the richest zinc deposits in the world, one 
of the largest coal-fields in Europe, and very large quantities of iron. 
The coal lies in almost horizontal strata ; and, as the Oder valley is 
only c. 500 feet above the sea even at the natural head of navigation 
at Ratibor, it was easy to canalise the river for large barges up to 
Kosel, the terminus of the Klodnitz-River canal from the coal-field at 
Gleiwitz. Beuthen and Zabrze are the greatest mining and smelting 
centres, while Konigshutte — with its " suburbs " of Kattowitz and 
Myslowitz — is specially connected with zinc, and Gleiwitz with 
glass. The frontier site, with its strategic problems and its foreign 
tariff, has been naturally adverse to prosperity ; but the mineral 
wealth is great and so easily won that the plain has become the 
" Black Country " of Eastern Germany. 

In the valleys of the Sudetic system there has been almost 
equally great development on the textile side ; for not only is there 
a rich coal-field in the Weistritz basin, but the wooded heights are 
almost everywhere supplied with abundant water-power. The con- 
fined coal-basin of Waldenburg has very important mining, smelting, 
and chemical industries (cf. the Bunzlau glass), which account for 
a population of nearly 40,000 per square mile ; and local production 
of flax and wool helps to supply raw material for textiles on both 
sides of the basin, though wool is the more important in the Lausitzer 
Neisse and Katybach valleys, e.g. at Gorlitz and Liegnitz, and linen in 
the Glatzen Neisse, e.g. at Neisse. The need for access to " power " 
causes this industrial part of the province to show very high density of 
population even at very considerable altitudes ; and this, of course, 

XX Prussia 315 

affects the average temperature, some villages in the Riesengebirge 
having the lowest mean (below 40° F.) of any in Prussia. A typical 
"mountain" home industry of lace-making centres round Hirsch- 
berg ; but the great historic industry is the weaving of linen (cf. the 
splendid damasks of Neustadt and Glatz). 

The foreground of this industrial " mountain " zone happens also Silesia: 
to be very fertile, especially between Ratibor and Liegnitz; and, 5^^ 
as the rainfall is also heavy (cf p. 57) — heavy enough, indeed, to 
account for forest ^ covering nearly 30 p.c. of the area — agriculture 
is greatly favoured, the crops of wheat and rye sometimes giving 
a surplus for export after feeding a local population of 5,000,000, 
while hops and tobacco, and even wine and silk, are typical products. 
North and north-east of the Langental, especially along the Bran- 
denburg frontier, the soil is much less fertile, and the density of 
population decreases from 300-500 per square mile to scarcely 100. 

Brandenburg rivals Silesia in size, but not in population ; for, Branden- 
though its infertility is exaggerated in its old nickname of " Sand- burg. 
Box," it does consist essentially of a sandy plain, interspersed with 
large areas of coniferous forest and small areas of fertile soil. Timber 
and sheep are its two typical products, the wool being the finest in 
Prussia (cf. the excellent woollen mills of Rummelsberg and Nieder 
Schonweide). Barley and rye, hemp and flax, and even tobacco and 
hops, are widely cultivated, and the large production of honey and 
wax may be associated with the wealth of aromatic vegetation ; but 
the excessive number of swamps, lakes (700), and rivers — supporting 
quite a busy fishery, especially for carp, and making the punt a 
common transport medium — causes the climate to be unusually raw 
in winter, while the absence of shelter and the loose, easily-heated 
surface expose it to violent winds both in winter and in summer. 
Commercially, however, the abundance of navigable water and the 
central site have made it the pivot of inland navigation in Prussia, 
as the low level and central site have made it the pivot of the 
Prussian railways. And where the chief waterways converge, by 
a chain of lakes, on the " mathematical " centre of the Prussian 
railway-system, Berlin, Spandau, and Potsdam have an aggregate' 
population of 4,000,000. 

Berlin itself, with over 2,120,000, is historically a typical island- Berlin, 
bridge centre, half-way between Elbe and Oder, half-way between 
Hamburg and Breslau ; and it is significant that some of the 
largest " new " cities in Germany, e.g. Charlottenburg, Rixdorf, and 
Schoneberg, are simply decentralised suburbs of Berlin. The 
metropolitan area, in which special districts, e.g. that of Teltow or 
of Nieder Barnim, have populations of 500,000, is now the chief 
manufacturing centre in Central Europe, its great industries — as in 

^ It is significant that the densest forests are in the lee of the ' ' Giant " Mountains, 
e.g: south of Liegnitz, or of the Sudetes, e.^. south-west of Oppeln. 


The Continent of Europe 



so many foci of dense population, e.g. New York — being in clothing 
and machinery, including scientific instruments. Its two outposts 
on the west of the Havel represent "war and the chase." The 
unhealthy, marsh-girt fortress at the confluence of the Havel and the 
Spree is now the chief military arsenal of Germany, while the 
relatively healthy lake-girt hills to the south offered beautiful sites 
for the palaces of royal fishermen, e.g. the Sans Souci. Potsdam now 
has busy industries, but only in such products as silk, chocolate, and 
furniture. Spandau is an older centre than Potsdam, but was 
hampered by its unhealthy marshes. 

Outside the metropolitan area the towns have been characteristic- 
ally dwarfed by nearness to the metropolis (cf. p. 214), even Frankfurt 
and Brandenburg not having populations of 70,000. As the Mark 

The surroundings of Berlin. 

developed eastward, the *' wooded hill " (Brenni-Bor), in its girdle of 
forested marsh, that had been the old sacred capital of the Wends, 
was bound to give way to some place farther east ; and the Oder- 
Spree Canal similarly deprived Frankfurt of its old commercial import- 
ance as the natural head of " sea " navigation on the Oder, while 
its strategic importance passed to the marsh-girt fortress of Kustrin. 
The other centres are still less important, most being engaged in 
the typical wool industry, e.g. Kottbus and Forst (" shoddy "). 

Eastern Prussia is separated from Western Prussia by the double 
Duchy of Mecklenburg, which is a typical Baltic plateau area 
between the Oder and the Elbe ; but the plateau is unusually low, 
not reaching 600 feet even in the Helpter or the Ruhner hills, and 
its seaward drainage is less important than its southward drainage, 
i.e. to the Elbe. Indeed, its only important Baltic river is the 
little Warnow (80 miles), which is navigable from Butzow for small 

XX Prussia 317 

vessels, and which made Rostock an important Hanseatic port, with 
a University that dates back to Hansa days. On the other hand, 
there are at least 400 lakes scattered over the plateau ; and the 
rivers which are connected with them, are navigable for long 
distances, e.g. the Elbe and the Havel, the two being connected by 
a canal via the Miiritz See. These lakes are very rich in fish, and 
the Miiritz — like the Baltic coast of the State — even produces amber. 

The history of the area — under Vandal, Slav, and German 
rulers — has also been adverse to its progress ; and its industries are 
still backward. It is one of the typical instances of a population in 
which the nobles are mainly of Teutonic, and the peasants of Slav 
origin, the Slav element being still prominent even in speech. The 
two capitals of Schwerin and Neu-Strelitz occupy very beautiful 
sites in wooded lake-land ; but they have very different histories. 
For while Neu-Strelitz is quite a modern town, built in the form of 
an 8-pointed star, Schwerin is one of the oldest towns in the whole 
area. Its modern appearance is due to the destructive fires which 
utterly wiped out the old wooden houses of the forest-settlement 
{Schwerin, "Game -Preserve"). Commercially, it is overwhelmed 
by the old Hansa ports of Rostock and Wismar, both admirable 
harbours from the Hanseatic point of view, and both still doing a 
busy commerce, though some of the " Rostock " commerce is now 
done through its outport of Warnemiinde. 

Western Prussia includes the large and fairly coherent areas of Bruns- 
Schleswig-Holstein, Hanover, Westphalia, Rhenish Prussia, and ^°^ ^^d 
Hessen-Nassau ; but these are grouped round a confused nucleus of 
small States, whose territory is generally dotted about in a number 
of incoherent fragments. For instance, Brunswick consists of 3 
large and 6 small areas, scattered along the banks of Aller and 
Ocker, Leine and Weser, including such diverse units as the 
Liineburg plain, the Dromlin marsh, the Harz Mountains. The 
city of Brunswick, on the fertile Ocker plain, with rich surrounding 
forests, was very important as a Hanseatic inland centre ; but, now 
that traffic does not move normally between the Middle Rhine and 
Liibeck, it has only local importance, e.g. as a manufacturer of 
sugar and sausages. In the northern part of the duchy, where the 
climate is most favourable, scientific agriculture is very productive, 
especially of sugar-beet ; the Harz is, of course, a very busy mining 
area ; and in the intermediate area timber - cutting is a typical 
industry. The Duchy of Anhalt, with its Harz foothills, the reclaimed 
pastures of its Elbe marshes, and its fertile Saale plain, is in a very 
similar position ; its agriculture is excellent, sugar is a typical 
product, and mining is a typical industry (cf. the famous salt-works 
of Leopoldshall, on the left bank of the Bode, opposite Stassfurt). 

The Thuringian States form a more coherent unit in spite of Thu- 
their subdivisions, for these correspond more or less to the opposite ringia. 

3i8 The Continent of Europe ch. 

slopes of the Thuringian Forest. Generally speaking, Saxe- Weimar- 
Eisenach lies across the north of the area, and Saxe-Meiningen 
across the south, while Saxe-Altenburg is to the east, and Saxe- 
Coburg-Gotha runs from north to south towards the west ; and the 
Thuringian Road — via Eisenach, Gotha, Weimar, and Jena — bridges 
the base of the angle which is formed by the Upper Werra and the 
Middle Saale, and which has its natural apex at Coburg. To the 
forest and mineral wealth the mountain environment has given a 
special direction, the subdivision of territory being reflected in a 
subdivision of labour — occupied in making articles which demand a 
vast amount of work on a tiny quantity of raw material. Glass- 
making is the typical industry along the crest of the range, including 
such products as thermometer tubes and glass eyes ; on the eastern 
slope the special product is various kinds of porcelain, terra-cotta, 
and earthenware ; on the western slope it is toys — of glass, wood, 
paper, china, metal ; and the metal industry is also prominent in 
the north, where, too, Ruhla has an unique industry in pipe-making 
— using wood, amber, and meerschaum. 

The toy industry is associated at Gotha with the making of all 
kinds of instruments — mechanical and mathematical, surgical and 
musical ; in the extreme south Coburg shows " Bavarian " influence 
in its typical brewing industry, as in the extreme east Neustadt 
shows Saxon influence in its population. Saxe-Meiningen, with a 
less fertile soil and mainly to the south, has long specialised in 
wooden toys, e.g. at Sonneberg, and papier-mache, e.g. at Hildburg- 
hausen ; but the industry has now reached such proportions that 
it is " international." 
Thurin- Saxe- Weimar-Eisenach is much the largest state {c. 1400 square 

gianBoad. miles), and has the most varied physique and resources. The 
Eisenach area is renowned for its natural beauty — of forest and 
mountains, the former specially " Thuringian " and the latter specially 
" Rhon " ; the Neustadt area is specially " Saxe," being physically 
a slice of the Vogtland and racially Slav ; the Weimar area, though 
not rich in minerals, has important industries in such typically 
" Saxe " products as woollen hosiery, e.g. at Apolda, — porcelain, 
e.g. at Ilmenau, — scientific instruments, e.g. at Jena (optical). Jena 
is also in a very fertile district, famous for its fruits ; and, as the eastern 
road round the Thuringian Forest was originally more important 
than the western, Jena was always the most important of the towns 
at the angles of the great triangle — Eisenach, Coburg, and Jena. 
More important than either of the north-and-south roads was the 
great " Thuringian Road " from east to west, linking Dresden to 
Cologne via Gera, Jena, Weimar, Erfurt (not politically Thuringian), 
Gotha, and Eisenach. Weimar and Gotha, "the Holders of the 
Gates " where the road crossed the Ilm or branched north-westward 
to the Lower Werra, were intimately interested in Itineraries and 

XX Prussia 319 

Road-plans centuries before they won their most honourable place 
in the modern world of Geographical publishing.^ 

The province of Saxony is divided by Anhalt into two main Province 
areas, pivoting respectively on Magdeburg and Halle, and the o^ Saxony, 
southern area is flanked by a chaotic intrusion of scraps of 
territory belonging to Anhalt, Brunswick, and the Thuringian 
States. The determining influence on this side was the Harz, 
diverting all roads along their north flank to Magdeburg or along 
their south flank to Halle. The northern roads diverged over an 
area that was largely moorland, while the southern ones threaded 
fertile mountain-girt valleys, e.g. that of the Helme ("The Golden 
Mead "). At the same time a certain unity is given to the province 
by the fact that yV^^ of it belongs to the " basin " of the Middle 
Elbe, the flood sediments of which have for centuries manured it 
so richly that it is now the most fertile province in Prussia, with 
a very large output of wheat and sugar-beet. 

The special wealth of the province is essentially underground — 
in brown coal and salt, to the west and south-west of Magdeburg. 
Though the oldest salt- workings were along the Saale ("Salt 
River"), e.g. at Halle ("Salt"), the richest deposits are now found 
along the Bode, e.g. at Stassfurt, and along the Elbe itself, e.g. at 
Schonebeck ; and a ring of brown coal — almost continuous along 
the west — surrounds the salt, e.g. at Oschersleben, Aschersleben, 
Weissenfels (where the Saale is canalised), Bitterfeld and Witten- 
berg. Below the old Salziger See near Eisleben there are the 
richest copper mines in Europe — at Mansfeld ; and both this 
district and the similar copper area in the Harz are rich in silver. 

Magdeburg, which is the smallest of the eight great cities of Magde- 
Germany, might have been the largest. The site is certainly the barg. 
natural centre of Prussia, — a central position on the central river 
of the plain, where the great westward bend comes so near to the 
Harz that the hilly foreground of the mountains enabled a German 
population to hold its ground and divert the Slav flood north-westward 
over Hanover, and where the Elbe is put into close relations with 
the AUer and even with the Westphalian Gate as well as with the 
tributary Saale. Here the presence of islands, in a stretch of the 
river otherwise devoid of islands for many miles, offered facilities 
for a defensive position and for building a bridge. On the 
western, i.e. the non-Slav, bank the city was a valuable outpost of 
German strength, and then a base for German expansion, while its 
importance as a market made it an inland member of the Hanseatic 
League. But its old salt industry, like that of Halle — which was 
worked in the sixth century — was its political ruin, for it gave it 
such a value {e.g. for preserving fish) that Otho gave it to his wife, 

^ Road maps of Central Europe were quite common by A.D. 1500, and the present 
house of Justus Perthes was founded in 1785. 

320 The Continent of Europe ch. 

Edith, and she gave it to the Church. From that time its industries 
began to be stifled; and, when eventually reaction came at the 
Reformation, the city suffered terribly under Tilly, By the time 
that it recovered, the old Thuringian Road was becoming less and 
less important, while Berlin had the advantage of being nearer 
to the Baltic, which was becoming more important. Now the 
north-eastern bend of the Elbe to the Havel confluence has not 
only no importance as far as Baltic trade is concerned, but has even 
lost a considerable portion of trade gravitating north-westward, the 
latter now often leaving the river at Magdeburg and proceeding direct, 
e.g.^ via Hanover for Bevergern on the Dortmund-Ems Canal. 
Hanover, Practically the whole of the rest of the Prussian plain south and 

west of the Lower Elbe and north of a line joining Osnabriick to 
Hildesheim is included in the province of Hanover, which stands 
next in size to Silesia and Brandenburg, with an area half the size 
of Scotland ; for the total area of the Grand-Duchy of Oldenburg 
and the Free Territory of Bremen is not much larger than Norfolk, 
and the most important strip of the old Duchy — the "Jade 
territory" round AVilhelmshaven — was purchased by Prussia in 
1873. The province slopes gently down from the Harz to the 
North Sea, but may be divided into two areas. The greater portion 
is a sandy plain crossed from north to south by the moor and fen 
of the Liineberg Heath, through which shallow valleys join the city 
of Hanover to the port of Harburg, now joined to Hamburg by a 
tunnel under the Elbe, The most fertile parts of this are the 
water-meadows along the Elbe frontier and the dyked lands along 
the North Sea. In the south a generally hilly area — broken by 
Lippe and Brunswick territory — slopes up to the Harz, and — like 
the eastern part of the plain — is densely forested, mainly with fir 
and larch, though there are also fine oak and beech woods. The 
chief artery of the whole province is the Leine-AUer-Weser, i.e. a 
river line wholly isolated eastward by the Heath ; and this fact, 
coupled with the rich river fisheries and with the poor soil, resulted 
in the area, which was originally peopled from the Norwegian fiords, 
being always somewhat backward in agriculture. The same condi- 
tions were more or less responsible for the rural type of civilisation, 
e.g. the making of roads being discouraged by the excellence of the 
waterways, and so the rise of real towns being delayed by the 
practice of accumulating goods at home until successive Christian 
Fasts or Festivals necessitated attendance at some shrine which 
became for the time a fair-ground. They are also reflected in the 
fact that in Hanover alone of all the German provinces there is a 
typically "Viking" preponderance of male over female births, and 
that 85 p.c. of the population are Protestants, the Roman Catholics 
being practically confined to the neighbourhood of the old episcopal 
cities of Hildesheim and Osnabriick. Cf. p. 294. 

XX Prussia 32 1 

The Heath — famous also for honey and wax — has a fine Pastoral 
breed of native sheep ; the " polders " of Aurich and Stade, like ^^ 
the water-meadows of Celle, are renowned for their horses ; and ■v^ealth. 
the number of cattle (1,250,000) and pigs (1,500,000) is exceed- 
ingly high per head of population. The marsh-lands are also the 
home of enormous flocks of geese, while the chief fishing-port of 
Germany is still appropriately in the "Viking" province — at 
Geestemiinde. The chief mineral centre is, of course, the Harz, 
and there is a well-known Mining Institute at Clausthal ; but fuel is 
widely spread in different forms, e.g. coal, lignite, and petroleum — 
mainly between Osnabriick and Celle — and enormous beds of peat 
— mainly in the north and the south-east. Salt was partly responsible 
for the early rise of Hanover and Liineburg ; and the province is 
now a main centre of the potash trade of Germany, exporting very 
large quantities of chemicals, dyes, medicines, etc. 

More or less robbed, by Free Town and -other " foreign " Towns, 
territory, from her proper development on the coast, or induced to 
sell points of vantage, e.g. Bremerhaven, Hanover has her most 
important centres in the south ; and here they have special oppor- 
tunities of controlling movement north-and-south, e.g. by the Leine 
and the Weser valleys. Even Osnabriick, like Bielefeld, owes much 
of its importance to the command of a pass across the Teutoburger; 
but the older lines of communication led by the two great valleys, 
via Mlinden (and the Westphalian Gate at Minden), via Gottingen 
and Hanover. And, as more or less local movement round the 
Harz was in olden days more important than trans-continental 
movement along the southern edge of the plain, Hildesheim and 
Gottingen were more important than Hanover. Even Gottingen, 
however, is a modern creation ; for its old woollen industry is quite 
forgotten, and the University was only founded by King George 
II. (of England). So, Emden only sprang into importance as a 
cable terminus ; and the great opportunity before Harburg has had 
to wait for modern congestion of traffic, especially coal, at Hamburg. 
Even the old towns, including such important Hansa markets as 
Celle, Hildesheim, and Liineburg, were remote from the sea, most of 
them being at the natural head of river navigation. For instance, 
Celle is at the natural head of navigation on the Aller, and so became 
an old seat of water traffic with Bremen and the site of the Ducal 
residence ; and it still possesses, as a legacy of this, the supreme Court 
of Appeal for the whole province, while its relations with its episcopal 
neighbour survive in its wax (and honey) market. Hildesheim itself, 
as a great cattle and linen market, was an original member of the 
Hansa League ; and Liineburg still exports its lime and gypsum (or 
cement) and salt by the Ilmenau,— faithful to its old motto of Mons, 
Fons, Pons, i.e. the quarries of the " Kalkberg," the salt " springs," 
and the conditions which made it a suitable place for a " bridge." 



The Continent of Europe 






Schleswig-Holstein gives an interesting epitome of the Prussian 
plain and a significant illustration of Prussian domination. Its eastern 
coast is skirted by the Baltic Ridge, which reaches 500 feet on the 
mainland behind Fehmarn ; the centre is practically a continuation 
of the Liineburg Heath ; and the west coast is fringed by dune-ribbed 
islands, such as Sylt, and by dyked polders landwards. The centre 
is, therefore, of little value except, e.g. for bee-keeping ; but the 
glacial soil of the plateau raises good flax, while the polders raise 
rape, and give excellent pasture. For these products the marine 
climate is very favourable, for the width of isthmus even in Holstein 
— i.e. south of the Eider — does not reach 100 miles, while in the 
narrower parts of Schleswig it is under 40 ; and in the small area 
( = Wales) there is very little variation of temperature or rainfall. 
Exposure to wind is reflected in the tiny percentage of forest (6 p.c), 
and yet fogs are very common (cf. p. 266). The obvious advantages 
of the area are -for rearing cattle — large numbers of which are 
exported^ — and for sea-fishing or sea-trading; but provincial 
interests are of slight importance. Kiel is wholly an Imperial 
interest, and Altona is practically part of Hamburg. Only in 
Schleswig, e.g. in the old Danish capital of Flensburg and the great 
fishing-port of Eckernforde, is there any real provincial strength ; 
and even Eckernforde is very Prussian. Schleswig is, however, 
largely "Danish," 47 p.c. of the people in the north speaking 
Danish, which is the commercial tongue in Flensburg ; and oflScial 
persecution, as in Posen, so far from Prussianising the area, has 
only embittered a racial antagonism which was in existence before 
the Angles had left Angeln. But for a shameless equivocation by 
Bismarck in 1864, — which encouraged Denmark to hold out 
against Prussia and Austria — it is practically certain that a 
European Congress would have confirmed Denmark in her historic 
possession of Schleswig, while giving to Prussia the Holstein fief of 
the old Germano-Roman Empire. Cf. p. 276. 

Westphalia is a rough oblong, which lies N.W.-S.E., and its 
south-western frontier runs generally parallel to the Teutoburger at 
an average distance of about 20 miles from the Rhine, while its 
south-eastern frontier runs along the Rothaar mountains generally 
parallel to the Dutch frontier. Political influences, mainly 
Napoleonic, took its natural limits north of the Teutoburger to 
include the Westphalian Gate and east of the Egge mountains to 
tap the Weser waterway between the territories of Cassel and 
Hildesheim. Within the natural limits the province is divided into 
two contrasting areas. The north, i.e. essentially the Ems-Lippe 
drainage, is really Westphalia ("Western Plain "), while the Sauerland 
(" South Land ") is a roughly slaty plateau drained by the Ruhr ; 
and there is a corresponding difference of climate, the Munster 
* The proportion per head of population is 65 per 100, the largest in Prussia. 




lowland having an average annual temperature of about 49" F. with 
a rainfall of only 25 inches, while the average annual temperature 
of Sauerland is only 41° F., but the rainfall approaches 40 inches. 
The northern area is, therefore, predominantly agricultural; and, 
though the constant outcropping of rocky beds, the wide area of fen 
in the Vechte basin along the Dutch frontier, and the dry sand of 
the Senne below the Lippe frontier, minimise the available land, 
this is to some extent compensated by the great number of peasant 
proprietors and by the fertility of the heart of the province, i.e. 
a belt running along the south of the Lippe (the " Hellweg ") and 
continued beyond the Egge mountains to the Weser, where 
Beverungen is an important grain market. Hardy cereals and 
roots are the typical products except in the north-east, where flax is 
very largely grown, and where there has been a flourishing linen 
industry for at least 500 years, e.g. at Bielefeld, the old "hill" 
capital of the Countship of Ravensberg. As at Dundee, the old linen 
industry has attracted a modern jute industry ; but this is mainly 
confined to Bielefeld, the other towns, e.g. Herford and Warendorf, 
being specifically engaged in linen. Below the Egge heights 
Paderborn is a busy wool market ; but away from the hills the 
typical live-stock are pigs (cf the famous Westphalian hams). 

The southern area of Sauerland, in the widest sense of the "Sauer- 
word, presents a very great contrast, being monopolised by mining la^d-" 
and manufacturing interests (hardware), the rougher work mainly 
between the Ruhr and the Emscher and the finer in the Ruhr-Lenne 
valley. The production of coal is the largest in Prussia (62 p.c), 
and that of iron ^ is second only to the production in the Rhine- 
land. The chief mining and 
smelting centres are on the 
north bank of the Ruhr, e.g. 
at Dortmund and Gelsenkir- 
chen, at Bochum and Reck- 
linghausen, with some special- 
isation in the manufacture of 
tools, armour, and ammuni- 
tion, and a very large output 
of coke ; but the more dis- 
tinctly manufacturing indus- 
tries are to the south of the 
river, e.g. Hagen and Iser- 
lohn, interested respectively in 

" Birmingham " goods and " Redditch " goods (" cutlery," including 
needles and fish-hooks). The use of surface gases for "power" 

^ Of the total 10,000,000 tons of raw iron produced in Prussia, the "Dort- 
mund district " is credited with about 5,400,000 and the " Bonn district " with about 

Su^fonis Ccag.' tsub^ 

Ruhr coal-field. 

324 The Continent of Europe ch. 

and of slag for cement have become so important, e.g. at 
Gelsenkirchen, that it is said — not altogether in jest — that "iron 
is the great by-product of the industry." 
Hesse- Hesse-Nassau is a small and hilly, but densely-peopled province 

Nassau, which lies between the Rhon and the Rothaar heights, and between 
the Bingen-Coblenz reach of the Rhine and a rather longer reach 
of the VVeser - Werra beyond Cassel, entirely surrounding the 
Oberhessen province of the Grand Duchy of Hesse and roughly 
divided by it into two main areas, the basin of the Lahn and the 
basin of the Fulda. The northern, or Hessian hills, are more or 
less isolated, while the southern, or Taunus, and western, or 
Westerwald, form a continuous block. The most characteristic 
features of the province are the very large proportion of forest 
(40 p.c), the volcanic sheet that clothes the slopes of the old 
Taunus core, and the mineral wealth (iron, manganese, and lead) of 
the Lahn valley. The ore goes — via Oberlahnstein — almost entirely 
to the Krupp furnaces opposite Duisburg-Ruhrort ; and the influence 
of the forest (largely oak and beech) is reflected in the important 
tanning industry, e.g. at Hamburg and Fulda, Marburg and 
Hersfeld — in the history of the old educational centres of Cassel, 
Fulda, and Marburg — in the fairy tales of the Grimms, whose 
home was at Hanau, now famous for diamond-cutting. But the 
volcanic area is much the most important, with its characteristic 
springs, e.g. at Ems, Homburg, and Wiesbaden, and its magnificent 
vineyards — in the shelter of the Taunus, on rich volcanic soil, and 
facing full on to the Rheingau " lake," off" which sunshine is 
reflected or mist is sent up to the slopes of Hockheim, Johannisberg, 
Geisenheim, Rudesheim, Rauenthal, etc. 
Frank- The province is administered from Cassel and Wiesbaden — the 

^'"^- transport centre typically associated with locomotive and rolling 
stock works, and the fashionable centre with the manufacture of 
furniture ; but much the largest centre is Frankfurt (420,000), 
famous alike in industry and finance, historically and commercially. 
As the natural head of the rift valley, and the natural junction of 
great routes from all points of the compass, it became an enormously 
important political, financial, and commercial centre ; and, though 
its political importance was rather bound up with the Holy Roman 
Empire, and its financial importance has passed to the new political 
capital of Berlin, its commercial importance remains, based on the 
conditions of relief and climate which originally enabled the Franks 
of the Ford on the Main to dominate the Saxons of the Weser plain, 
the Swabians of the Neckar valley, and the Bavarians of the Danube 
Rhine- The Rhineland is in several ways the most important province 

land. jj^ Prussia — politically important because of its great length from 
north to south along the French, Belgian, and Dutch frontiers. 

XX Prussia 325 

commercially important as containing 200 miles of the navigable 
Rhine and exceptional railway facilities, and industrially important 
as containing great mineral wealth both of coal and of metals, and 
as having the most favourable climate in Germany for textile work 
and the best access to foreign markets. The province contains a 
typical North German lowland, and a typical South German high- 
land, and has a great variety of rock and soil, while the average 
temperature is about 50° F., and the rainfall varies from 24 inches 
in the Rhine valley to 37 inches on the Eifel, and 36 across the 
Moselle on the Hunsriick. The division between northern plain and 
southern highland is roughly marked by a line from Aix to Bonn, 
which is almost the direction of the isotherm of 68° F, in summer. 
To the north the land is very flat, and so low that towards the Dutch 
frontier it is largely marshy ; the highland exceeds 2200 feet in the 
Eifel, with its cones ^ and crater-lakes (maare), and 2500 in the 
Hunsriick ("Dog's Back"), with its busy slate quarries. But, in 
spite of marsh and mountain, there is a large proportion {c. 70 p.c.) 
of really fertile land in the province, and about 50 p.c. of the 
whole is under tillage. On the higher land, which is heavily wooded, 
little but rye, oats, and potatoes can be grown : but the various 
river valleys are not only, like the northern lowland, exceedingly 
fertile, but also, unlike that, blessed with a climate which favours all 
kinds of valuable crops, e.g. hops and tobacco, fruit and wine, the 
last specially in the valley of the Moselle (at Berncastle, Zeltingen, 
etc.). The northern lowland makes rich cattle pasture, but the 
draining of rivers to make canals, e.g. the Lippe for the Dortmund- 
Ems Canal, has done damage to the water-meadows. 

The great value of the province, however, is in its mineral Mineral 
wealth, which lies all round the old rock, e.g. coal in the Saar and the Wealth. 
Ruhr basins ; the Moselle valley, even after it leaves Lorraine and 
Luxemburg, is fairly rich in iron-ore ; the " Meuse " scarp above 
Aix is rich in zinc, and overlooks a valuable coal-field; and the 
name Bleiberg ("Lead- Hill") speaks for itself. But the coal is 
much the most important, and — with the favourable climate — has 
made the province the most important manufacturing district in 
Germany. Facilities for transport have tended to increase the 
relative importance of the two northern coal-fields at the expense of 
the southern ; and the eastern, or " Diisseldorf," field is more 
important than the western, or " Aix," field. The great iron and steel 
works are at points where transport and access to the coal are best, 
e.g. Essen and Oberhausen, Duisburg-Ruhrort ("Ruhr Mouth") and 
Miilheim-on-Ruhr. Farther afield there is more attention to smaller 
ware, e.g. the cutlery of Solingen and the tools of Remscheid ; and 
glass is a special product on the Saar, though iron is also very 

^ The trach)rtic cones are repeated in the Siebengebirge ("Seven Hills") across 
the Rhine. 


The Continent of Europe 






important at Saarbriicken and Neunkirchen. The great hardware 
centre is Diisseldorf, the seat of the Steel Syndicate and other 
similar bodies, andi the site of hardware works of all kinds — from 
blast-furnaces to bridge-building, and with the largest glass-bottle 
factory in the world ; the great transport centre of the hardware 
district is Duisburg-Ruhrort, the largest river harbour in Europe, 
with nearly 500 acres of water, nearly 600 acres of wharfage, and 
fully 1 60 miles of railway. 

The textile industry is more scattered. The cotton centres on the 
Wupper valley, where the climate encourages weaving and " open- 
work " rather than spinning Both Barmen and Elberfeld specialise 
in laces, ribbons, braids, etc. ; and there is a great deal of calico- 
printing, Elberfeld having the largest chemical works in Germany, 
where over 200 chemists are employed on dyes, especially Turkey- 
red. The woollen industry centres on the Belgian border, at Aix ; 
the linen is on the old flax-lands farther north, at Gladbach ; Crefeld 
spins cotton, but specialises in silk. These west-bank industries are 
all largely worked by Roman Catholics, while on the east bank the 
population is mainly Protestant. Cf. p. 329. 

The great centre of the whole province is Cologne ("The 
Colony"), with a population of 520,000, engaged in all the typical 
industries of the area — textile, chemical, glass, etc., with special 

interest in scent and chocolate. 
As an old Roman " Colony," 
it is naturally on the " Roman " 
bank of the river — at the 
normal head of " ocean " navi- 
gation (180 miles from the sea), 
between plateau and plain, 
where — below the scarp of the 
old metal-bearing rock — high- 
land and lowland routes cross 
between Paris and Berlin, 
Strassburg and Rotterdam. It 
has also, with Deutz, become 
an important fortress ; and 
a number of industrial^ 
" suburbs " have sprung up 
across the river, e.g. Miilheim. 
Coblenz ("the Confluence"), 
however, is the political capital 
— itself on the " Roman " bank, but with the Ehrenbreitstein fortress 
on the opposite bank. The Romans attached great importance to 
this "confluence," where the narrow and tortuous Moselle route 

^ The lignite field round Cologne (cf. Aix) is some 45 square miles in area, and 
has some very thick seams (an extreme of 300 feet !). 

10 15 £0 English Miles. 

The Bonn-Bjngen gorge. 

XX Prussia 327 

round the Eifel from Metz and Treves, and the narrow and tortuous 
Lahn route round the Taunus from Thuringia converge on a fertile 
basin in the very centre of the easily defended Bonn-Bingen gorge. 

Alsace-Lorraine is essentially a double area, with the crest of Alsace- 
the Vosges as the natural division. Lorraine falls in more or less Lorraine, 
gentle terraces westward, while Alsace falls abruptly eastward, and 
the average temperature to leeward {e.^. Strassburg) is slightly 
higher than to windward (e.g^. Metz), while the average rainfall is 
slightly lower — this being reflected in the greater area of forest on 
the Lorraine slopes of the Vosges and the greater area of vineyards 
in Alsace. The Saar valley, with some coal of its own (at Forbach) 
and easy access by water to the Saarbriicken coal-fields, has specialised 
in glass and earthenware, e.g. at Saargemiind (cf the Hagenau 
earthenware) ; and it also benefits from the Marne-and-Rhine Canal, 
which crosses the river at Saarburg, — the permanence of the control 
exercised here by the Zabern Pass being reflected in the series of 
historic battles fought round the old site of Pfalzburg (pfalz = Latin 
palatium). Between the Saar and the Moselle the barren plateau, 
which includes the valley of the Seille, contains the valuable salt- 
bed of Chateau Salins (cf the chemical industry of St. Avoid) ; 
the soil and climate in the Moselle valley itself have greatly 
encouraged intensive agriculture ; and the " Luxemburg " plateau 
on the left bank is exceedingly rich in iron. The subdivisions of 
Alsace are very different. The western part includes the mass 
of the Vosges, with an important " alp " dairy industry (cheese) ; 
the east is a typical part of the Rhine valley-plain, largely forested ; 
and the 111 valley, which separates forested plain from forested 
heights, is rich in water-power, it has a relatively high humidity 
favourable to textile work, and it has always enjoyed certain com- 
mercial advantages from its position between France, Germany, 
and Switzerland, and from its easy access to the Rhine. Miilhausen 
and Colmar are textile centres on the Rhine-and-Rhone Canal at 
the foot of the Burgundy Gate. 

Strassburg ("The Castle by the Road" — from Paris to Vienna) Strass- 
has a very typical site, and has had a very typical history. It is ^^^Z ^^^ 
not on the " turbulent " Rhine, but a few miles up the III, at its ® ^ 
confluence with the Breusch, and only 2 or 3 miles west of the 
Rhine ; and, as this strong military position happens also to be 
just opposite the Zabern Pass across the Vosges, the French were 
able to bind the city to France by the Rhine-and-Marne Canal to 
the Seine as well as by the Rhine-and-Doubs Canal to the Rhone. 
The Romans had used the same position for the collection of 
tribute — at Argentoratum, thus laying the foundation of the banking 
interest in the Middle Rhine basin ; during the latter Middle Ages 
it was one of the most influential cities in the empire ; and to-day, 
with improved access to the Rhine, it is a really important industrial 

328 The Continent of Europe CH. 

and commercial centre, with a busy trade in agricultural products 
(including the famous /a/A defoie gras). Metz, too, was a Roman 
centre, and was provided by the Romans with the system of military 
roads (radiating to Treves, Verdun, Rheims, Toul, Langres, and 
Strassburg) to which it owed much of its subsequent importance, 
under its bishops and as a free imperial city. Its site, like that of 
Strassburg, is on a fertile carse — between the Seille and the Moselle ; 
and, as a fortress, down to 1870 it had never been taken in battle, 
— hence its title of La Pucelle. 
Baden. The Grand Duchy of Baden is essentially a Rhine-bank State, 
though it stretches round the Odenwald to the southern bend of 
the Lower Main, and round the Swabian Jura to the north of the 
Upper Danube. A very large proportion of the area is mountainous 
(nearly 80 p.c.) ; but the average height of the Black Forest does 
not much exceed 3000 feet except south of the South Kinzig 
valley, and the lowland is exceedingly fertile, growing quantities 
of fruit (almonds and walnuts) and wine, hops and tobacco. The 
large proportion of highland and of forest (nearly 40 p.c) have 
forced the people into industrial lines, and there are now very 
important industries in typical articles, e.g. light machinery, china 
and glass, clocks and jewellery, toys and small articles especially 
made for sale to the numerous visitors who patronise the medicinal 
springs to which the State owes its name, and of which the best 
known is that at Baden town. Naturally, the physical character of 
the area has greatly influenced communications, and most of the 
chief centres of population now are river-side railway junctions ; 
but fully 50 p.c. of the population is purely "rural," though engaged 
in industries. These centre on little towns in the neighbourhood, 
e.g. textiles round Constance, where water-power is near to a main 
line of rail, — making of clocks and toys round Furtwangen, in the 
heart of the Black Forest, and round Villingen on the Kinzig- 
Brigach line, — manufacture of tobacco and chicory along the Rhine- 
valley railway, e.g. at Rastatt and Freiburg. At each end of the 
country there is a famous University, i.e. at Heidelberg and Freiburg ; 
the capital, Karlsruhe, is on the line of least resistance round the 
north end of the range between the Rhine and Neckar valleys ; 
and on the same line French refugees started, at Pforzheim, an 
industry in cheap jewellery which has now become the most 
important of its kind in the world. 
Mann- -^^^ ^^ ^^^ supremely important centre in the Duchy is 

heim. Mannheim. It is the confluence of the Neckar that decides the 
normal head of navigation on the Rhine ; and, therefore, — though 
in years of exceptionally high water, e.g. 1 9 1 o, Kehl and Strassburg 
and even Basel may profit at the expense of Mannheim — the latter 
must, in the long run, have a great advantage. As the northern 
terminus of the Baden railways, as well as the southern terminus 

XX Prussia 329 

of normal navigation, it has a literally enormous hinterland; and 
as four-fifths of the traffic down-stream goes empty, rates for export 
are exceedingly low, while those for import are not high, and there 
are no dues. Besides this direct aid, the State has been most 
careful to maintain absolute harmony and co-operation between 
river and rail ; it has provided a special coal-port at Rheinau, where 
land is cheap, although it lies just along the main lines of rail to 
the south via Schwetzing and to the east via Heidelberg ; and it 
has thus made the city the great wholesale depot of South Germany, 
especially in grain, coal, and petroleum. No ordinary regulation 
of the river higher up in the future can do Mannheim much harm 
— for two reasons. During the natural low-water stage no place 
farther south dare take much advantage of an accidental and 
temporary rise of level, e.g. a few days' flood, to send barges up the 
river ; and no normal regulation can affect the pace of the river on 
the steeper gradient to the south, even though it made it always 
navigable. Like Pforzheim,^ the city owed its rise to French 
refugees, who found safety in the marshy peninsula between the 
Rhine and the Neckar, i.e. on the non-French side of the river, 
after the massacre of St. Bartholomew. Over 20 p.c. of the total 
artisan population of Baden is centred in Mannheim. 

The Grand Duchy of Hessen is divided into two approximately Hessen. 
equal parts by the Prussian territory round Frankfurt. The eastern 
area, both north and south of the river, is mountainous (Vogelsberg 
and Odenwald) ; but the western is part of the Rhine plain. The 
soil is very productive, excellent wine being produced in the west, 
e.g. round Bingen and Openheim ; and the large proportion of oak- 
forest and the valuable cattle-pasture account for the importance 
of the old leather industry. Darmstadt, the political capital, is a 
route-centre at the north-west corner of the Odenwald, the steep 
western scarp of which (the Bergstrasse) is famous for its wine ; 
Giessen (" By the Rivers "), at the Lahn-Wieseck confluence, is the 
educational capital, the School of Organic Chemistry in its University 
having been made famous by Baron Liebig, who was born at 
Darmstadt ; and Mainz is the commercial capital. Like Worms, 
also an old Roman centre, it stands on the " Roman " bank of the 
river, where the inflow of the Main tends to keep that bank free 
from sediment. Under purely natural conditions this was a 
position of very great importance, and it was long maintained by 
exercise of " transfer right " (cf. p. 305); but the loss of transfer 
right (in 1831) began what artificial regulation of the river has 
completed, i.e. the displacing of Mainz by Frankfurt for eastern 
traffic and by Mannheim for northern traffic (cf. p. 305). 

^ Amongst the typical products of both places is celluloid. 


The Continent of Europe 


Its Char- 



Wurtemberg is a little kingdom the size of Wales, shut in by 
Bavaria on the north and east and by Baden on the south and 
west in such a way that it has only inferior connection with the 
great east-and-west or north-and-south highways of South Germany 
except at one point. But for the same reason it is fairly compact, 
and the fact that it still contains many miles of Roman roads 
suggests an early civilisation. A further advantage is in the relief, 
which is hilly rather than mountainous, and has the Rauhe Alb 
(Swabian Jura) as its natural centre. On both sides of the S.W.— 
N.E. backbone the land falls in fertile terraces, the northern (Lower 
Swabia) having a more genial climate than the southern (Upper 
Swabia). The latter still has a typical Swabian (Suevi) population, 
while west of the Neckar the population is Alemanni, and east jof 
the Neckar it is Franconian. The natural centre of the country 
is at Stuttgart, where the Neckar is navigable^ after its great 
northward bend ; and the neighbouring town of Esslingen is a 
great transport centre. The country is specifically agricultural, 
with rich corn-fields, vineyards, and orchards (apple and pear), 
and lush meadows which were so famous for their horses that they 
gave its name to Stuttgart ("Stud-garden"); and over 30 p.c. of 
the area is forested, paper-making being a typical industry, e.g. at 
Ravensburg and Heilbronn. The mineral wealth is small, being 
mainly confined to iron ; but the industry in this is probably as 
old as the Romans, and the people have a traditional skill in 
metal-working (cf. the pianos of Stuttgart, the engines of Esslingen, 
mathematical instruments, etc.) ; and, as the abundant water-power 
compensates largely for the absence of coal, old textile industries 
in woollens and linens still flourish, e.g. at Esslingen and Goppingen. 

The most important centre politically is Stuttgart, with an 
industrial bulwark at Esslingen and the State University at 
Tubingen. Though it is rather isolated from the outside world, 
the compactness of the kingdom and the energy of the people 
have combined to attract to it all the typical activities of the 
country, including the clock-making of the Black Forest ; but it 
is relatively modern — the old capital having been Cannstatt — and 
owes its architectural beauty and artistic treasures to royal patrons 
attracted to the place by its fine climate and beautiful surroundings. 
The most important centre strategically is the old city of Ulm. 
It stands where the confluence of the Iller makes the Danube 
navigable, and marks the terminus of the long Alpine valley by 
which the Suevi originally moved northwards. It thus guards the 
approach from the east to the Burgundy Gate, and is still a fortress 

^ The actual port is at Cannstatt, c. 900 feet above sea-level. 

XX Bavaria 331 

of first rank, the base of operations for the German army behind 
the Black Forest, and capable of accommodating a force of fully 
100,000 men. Its grand old cathedral, which is said to be able to 
hold 30,000 persons, suggests its importance in the Middle Ages ; and 
the city still retains its old leather and cloth trades. The most 
important centre commercially is Heilbronn, on the site of a 
Roman settlement. It is a very old town ; and much of it — like 
Ulm, but unlike Stuttgart — looks old, with its turreted walls and 
gabled roofs. Old industries, too, in delicate metal-work (gold and 
silver) still flourish. But it is so far north that it has become a 
great rail and river junction, the natural head of steam navigation 
on the Neckar and commanding railway traffic round the end of 
the Black Forest. 


In Bavaria, except for a fringe of Longheads dotted about its Char- 
the main lines of movement, e.g. along the Danube or on the acter. 
approaches to the great Alpine passes, we are in a land of Round- 
heads. No doubt, there is a considerable mixture of influences, 
e.g. Germanised Slav in the north-east, Swabian in the centre, Frank 
in the north - west ; but the dominating strain can probably be 
traced back to times before Odoacer's troops swept the country, 
and its physical qualities and mental activities are very significant. 
.Indeed, it seems to represent an approximation to that original 
stock which found its highest expression in the ancient Greeks, 
and from which the Slavs have degenerated. The geographical 
conditions were favourable to the survival of such a stock — at 
least, off" the line of the main routes ; for the core of the area is an 
old " Variscan fragment " with a Steppe climate. It may be 
divided into five natural regions — (i) the high plateau between the 
frontier streams of Iller and Salzach and south of a line joining 
Ulm and Augsburg to Miihldorf, (2) the riverine lands north of 
that up to the Danube, (3) the constricted valleys of the Naab and 
the Regen between the Bohemian Forest on the one hand, and the 
Franconian Jura and Bavarian Forest on the other, (4) the basin 
of the winding Main from the Fichtelgebirge, and (5) the alien 
Palatinate. It is, therefore essentially a highland area walled in by 
mountains, for the Bohemian Forest (4800 feet) falls abruptly on 
the Bavarian side, and the Noric Alps have, in Zugspitze (9700 
feet), the highest peak in the German Empire. The most 
characteristic feature of the high plateau, which is simply a 
continuation of the Swiss plateau, is the number of important 
streams which cross it at short and regular intervals, and which flow 
more or less parallel with one another in deep gullies that form 
natural barriers to movement east-and-west. The section of the 


The Continent of Europe 




Jura that faces the riverine lands has been so much denuded that 
there are relatively easy valleys across it, e.g. those of the Wornitz 
and the Altmiihl, while to the north the uplift becomes an expanse 
of hilly land rather than a consecutive scarp — thus facilitating the 
construction of the Ludwig Canal. Cf. p. 296. 

Agriculture and forestry are the natural occupations of the area, 
and the importance of the forestry is intimately related to the relief 
and to the lack of mineral wealth, for much of the hilly country is 
not favourable to agriculture, and there is an almost total absence 
of coal. These conditions have re-acted on a poor population of 
pronounced artistic leaning in such a way as to account for some of 
the typical modern industries. For instance, the very important 
glass industry, although now centred at Fiirth, flourished at least 
500 years ago on the forested sandstone of the Spessart ; and to- 
day the great paper industry of Aschaffenburg gets, not only much 
of its raw material, but also the whole of its workmen from the 
same poverty-stricken highland. Cheap labour, again, accounts for 
the huge ready-made clothes industry of the town. The crochet 
and glass-bead embroidery, the basket-work, the polishing of cedar- 
wood for pencils, were all at first home industries undertaken by 
the women to eke out the earnings of the men in the quarries and 
as navvies or foresters. The largest forests are in the south, but the 
best timber comes from the north, e.g. the Spessart oak. About half 
the area is cultivated, and a sixth is pasture. The latter is most 
important in the extreme south, where the alp pasture is very 
favourable to cattle, especially in the Algau. The riverine lands 
produce barley, rye, oats, and wheat in large quantities, each of the 
first three in 191 1 having a value of over ;!^7, 000,000 ! Hops are 
widely grown, especially in the Regnitz basin, the finest coming 
from the Halledau and Spalt districts ; and the same area grows 
the best tobacco in Germany. Wine is a special product in the 
Lower Main valley, e.g. round Wiirzburg, and in the Palatinate; 
and the sandstone of the same two areas grows famous potatoes. 

The position of the three Universities of Munich, Wiirzburg, 
and Erlangen, almost suggests a three-fold industrial division of the 
kingdom. The Erlangen, Fiirth, and Niirnberg area is the centre 
of the hop and tobacco trades and of the glass and toy industries — 
Niirnberg being the " capital of toy-world " in all materials except 
felt (which is cheaper in England), and having local supplies of 
wood, paper, and celluloid. The Munich centre is specially con- 
cerned with chemical and electrical work, having abundance of salt in 
the Inn and the Salzach valleys, e.g. at Rosenheim and Traunstein — 
abundance of water-power, used near Traunstein for nitrogen works 
— and some coal or lignite both south-west and south-east of the 
city, providing both Munich itself and Augsburg with perhaps one- 
third of their supply. The Wiirzburg centre is more interested in 

XX Bavaria 333 

wine and " wood " products. The genius of the people seems 
specially developed in the working of metal, from gold-leaf and 
spun silver (for trimmings) to various transport media, both Munich 
and Niirnberg having important locomotive and motor works, and 
both Munich andWiirzburg having important industries in surgical and 
mathematical instruments. Water-power is largely used in textile as 
well as in mechanical works, especially on the Lech, e.g. at Augsburg, 
and on the Upper Main valley, where Hof and Beyreuth, Bamberg 
and Lichtenfels, are important centres, the "textile" industry of 
Bamberg and Lichtenfels including basket-weaving. The most 
widely-distributed industry is the brewing ; and the best known 
breweries, e.g. those at Munich and Kulmbach, Erlangen and 
Niirnberg, have special advantages of nearness to the best barley or 
the best water or the best hops. The best known product is 
probably the pencils of Niirnberg, — the lead of which comes mainly 
from the graphite mines near Passau — or the lithographic stone of 
Solnhofen. The great lack of coal is largely compensated by the 
abundance of water-power and the facilities for importing fuel by 
water, e.g. Rumanian petroleum to Ratisbon. 

In many ways the Palatinate is more favoured than Bavaria The Pala- 
proper, but it produces much the same products, e.g. tobacco and *"^**' 
wine, wood and grain. Its special products are the chemicals of 
Ludwigshafen and the boots and shoes of Pirmasens ; and the 
military routes westward from Ludwigshafen and Spires (the capital) 
have given facilities for transport which have encouraged a great 
development of textiles in the humid forested valleys on the wind- 
ward face of the Haardt, e.g. at Kaiserslautern. 

Four towns are of special interest. Munich — on the central Munich 
river of Southern Bavaria, on the north edge of the Alpine foreland, f^^ Augs- 
between moor and forest, in the rear of the Danube, controlling the 
junction of the Brenner route with the great " Piedmont " road 
from Vienna to Basel (cf. Hohenlinden, Blenheim, Miihldorf, etc.) — 
was the natural south-eastern outlet of Southern Germany, and so 
the natural political centre of old Bavaria, as it is the natural 
economic centre of modern Bavaria, and the largest city in Southern 
Germany. It " inherits " the old university first founded in the 
fortress-town of Ingoldstadt, and then moved to the industrial centre 
of Landshut, where textiles and scientific instruments are as typical 
products as in Munich itself. Augsburg, on the western river of 
Southern Bavaria, had a somewhat similar position ; but the Lech 
does not lead so directly to the Brenner as the Isar does, and the 
importance of the place was specifically local, as a fortress between 
the Lech and the Wertach. Indeed, the fact that the Lech still 
divides Swabia from Bavaria and Alemannian from Bavarian types, 
is sufficient comment on its torrential character — shown in its 
endless arms, its rush-grown islands, its terrific floods, or the 

334 The Continent of Europe ch. 

recent progress in textile industries with power from the curbed 
Ratisbon Ratisbon and Niirnberg represent the lowland rather than the 

and Num- hjorhland control. Both are on the line of least resistance between 
the Middle Danube and the Middle Main, t.e. a more important 
route in olden days than the direct north-and-south route via the 
Wornitz or Altmiihl valley ; and the change in the relative value of 
these routes has been compensated, as far as Ratisbon and Niirnberg 
are concerned, by the increased importance of the routes by the 
Naab valley into the Eger valley, and by the Regen valley into the 
Beraun. Ratisbon (Regensburg) had, and still has, easy access via 
Landshut to the Brenner, and the advantage of being on the 
northerly bend of the Danube, at the limit of " deep " navigation ; 
but, though once the meeting-place of the Imperial Diet, it is too 
near the frontier to have permanent political importance other than 
in war. Niirnberg, though more important even politically and 
owing its rise to the command given by its castled rock over the 
sandy plain, was essentially a commercial centre in the Pegnitz gap ; 
and it still is one of the most important junctions (rail, river, road, 
and canal) in Germany. 


Its Char- The triangular kingdom of Saxony, from its base on the 

acter. Erzgebirge (" Ore Mountains "), intrudes so far into the great 
European plain that its apex, at Leipzig, has had for ages special 
facilities for tapping trans-continental trade, while the abundant 
water-power and the mineral wealth of the Ore Mountains made 
it an industrial as well as a commercial area. The actual amount 
of lowland is not great, but the soil is exceedingly fertile ; and, on 
the other hand, the Erzgebirge nowhere reach 4000 feet, while the 
Lusatian heights do not reach even 3000. The mountain base, 
however, lies S.W.-N.E., throwing off its water-supply naturally 
towards the north-west, i.e. parallel to the course of the Elbe ; and 
one important result of this is that very few of its numerous rivers 
flow directly to the Elbe, thus providing the area with a succession 
of separate arteries more or less parallel with one another. The 
sub-tributaries converge, however, on the tributaries, e.g. the Mulde, 
the Pleisse, and the Elster, within the frontiers of the kingdom, 
thus making the "apex" site of Leipzig almost deltaic. Saxony, 
therefore — since it got rid of the futile Slav subdivision of its land 
into microscopic fragments — has become one of the most advanced 
agricultural States in the world, the richest grain- lands (rye and 
oats) being just where these rivers drop on to the lowland, e.g. at 
Bautzen, Meissen, and Grimma ; and, though its climate is 
somewhat severe, it grows enormous quantities of hardy fruit, 




especially cherries, plums, and apples, e.g. round Grimma, while 
the Vogtland grows equally large crops of potatoes. 

The prosperity of the kingdom, however, is based essentially on Mineral 
the mineral wealth and water-power of the mountains, thanks to Wealth, 
which the population is the densest in Europe, the total of nearly 
5,000,000 for an area of under 6000 square miles giving an average 
of well over 800 per square mile. The Erz have a steep southward 
fall to the valleys of the Eger and the Biela, but a gentler slope 
northward, i.e. on the windward side ; and the varied course of the 
rivers, through open " bay " or narrow gorge, betrays the alternation 
of hard old rock with soft sedimentary rock. The hard old rock is, 
or was, characteristically rich in metal, e.g. silver and tin ; and the 
neighbouring sedimentary rock (cf. p. 49) is rich in coal. There 
are still nominally four ore-mining districts — round Frieberg, where 


Sanford'a CeogI Estabf^ London. 
The industrial areas, Saxony and Silesia. 

silver has been worked for 800 years, round Scheeberg (cobalt and 
nickel), round Johann-Georgenstadt (silver and iron), and the 
Miiglitz valley round Altenberg (tin); but the metallic wealth 
is largely exhausted, and the economic life of the area has 
gravitated to, or been entirely remodelled by, the coal-fields of 
Zwickau, Oelsnitz, and Chemnitz. There is also a small field 
between Dresden and Freiberg, and both Dresden and Leipzig 
have fields of brown coal. With this wealth of coal, and enough 
water-power elsewhere to run almost as many factories as are 
worked by coal, Saxony has come to monopolise more than one- 
fourth of all the textile industries of Germany. 

There was, however, a third influence at work — in the "after- Industries, 
results" of the old tin and silver mining. This had attracted 
population almost to the very crest of the Erz, e.g. at Annaberg and 
Altenberg ; and, when the mining began to fail, the inhabitants did 
not desert their mountain homes, but sought employment in other 

336 The Continent of Europe ch. 

directions. As agriculture was out of the question at such altitudes, 
and as forest industries were limited, home industries sprang up in 
" textiles," e.g. lace and straw-plaiting, or toys (Vogtland) and fine 
metal work, e.g. the gold lace of Freiburg and the watches of the 
Altenberg-Glashiitte district. Climatic conditions are more favour- 
able to secondary than to primary processes, and cotton is naturally 
more suited to the windward than to the leeward range of mountains. 
The great cotton district is in and round Zwickau and Chemnitz, 
e.g. at Meerane and Glauchau, Werdau and Krimitschau — Chemnitz 
being the metropolis, and the special product being hosiery. Nearer 
the mountains, e.g. from Reichenbach to Plauen, lace is more 
typical, Plauen being specially known for its white embroidery 
and muslin (cf. Falkenstein and Auerbach), as Annaberg is for 
passementeries. In the drier east, wool takes the place of cotton. 
The other chief industries of the kingdom are in hardware and 
stoneware, e.g. all kinds of "machinery" (mining, textile, printing, 
locomotive), especially at Chemnitz and Dresden, and of " china," 
especially at Meissen (porcelain) and Pirna (earthenware). 

Towns. Pirna, with its famous sandstone quarries, stands at the exit of 

the Elbe from the Saxon " Switzerland." Though very far from 
being typically Swiss, the district is exceedingly picturesque, owing its 
beauty to the deep gorges and quaint isolated peaks easily worn by 
water and ice in the soft sandstone ; and it was this gorge that gave 
such political importance to a site within easy access of the fine 
building-stone and the beautiful scenery that the capital was moved 
to Dresden ("The Forest") from Meissen ("The Frontier,") — the 
latter placed, typically for a frontier fort, on the west bank of the 
Elbe. Dresden still has a strategic value, and its industrial import- 
ance has grown with the development of the coal-field to the west ; 
but, except for Dresden itself, the whole balance of power has moved 
to the west of the kingdom, and Dresden (like Halle) never had a 
tithe of the non-local importance possessed by Leipzig. For Dresden 
was too far south, as Halle was too far north, to be the natural 
meeting-place of the Thuringian Road from the west with the road 
that skirts the Lusatian plateau from the east, and crosses the Elbe 
at Riesa — still a busy river-port, on the " German " bank of the 

Leipzig. Leipzig, too, had the commercial advantage of being at the great 
bend on the Elster and the strategic advantage of the Elster-Pleisse 
marshes within the bend. As far as internal commerce is concerned, 
it has the most central site in the Empire, and has thus come to be 
the seat of the Supreme Law Courts of the Empire ; it has also 
the most central site strategically in what is called the "cockpit of 
Germany " ; it has one of the oldest Universities in Germany and 
one of the most important printing and publishing^ trades in the 
^ As a bookselling centre, it is more important than either Paris or Londoa 




world. A fishing village, between forest and pasture and marsh, it 
had natural facilities for local collection of .skins and furs ; and it is 
now one of the most important fur and leather markets in the world, 
with a very large book-binding industry. The substitution of metallic 
for wooden type did it no harm, for it had easy access to practically 
all the necessaries for modern type-founding (copper, tin, lead, bis- 
muth, antimony, etc.) ; and the substitution of "wood" for textile 
materials in paper-making only gave it a new use for its forests. Its 
two greatest fairs are held at Easter and Michaelmas, and the chief 
articles sold (to the value of perhaps ;^i 0,000,000), are still furs, 
skins, leather, wool, hair, and bristles. But the city has very im.- 
portant industries of its own, including scientific and musical instru- 
ments (cf. Dresden), artificial flowers (cf. Dresden), and chemicals — 
the last founded on the salt of its old rival, Halle, which provided 
its earliest cargoes. 

The city illustrates specifically the process referred to above 
(p. 283), by which the central position of Germany enables her 
more or less to monopolise many of the markets that she can reach 
without " break-of-bulk." As a proof of this the following figures 
may be quoted from The Times : — 

Iron and Steel Exports (in Thousands j£) 

To European Countries 
(without " break -of-bulk "). 

To all other Countries 
(with "break-of-bulk"). 

From IPe-^cent- 
E„gland.| f^^^l 


age of 


age of 


age of 




10,109 ' 27 
8,353 22 
9,400 22 

10,916 25 










Note. — The figures for Germany include hardware, cutlerj-, implements, and tools, and other 
goods not included in the English figures. These goods were valued at 6J millions sterling in 
1908, and for 191 1 may be estimated at about 9 millions. 



16° E. The empire occupies a very significant position, which may be 
*^ ^' indicated by longitude 15° E. and latitude 45° N., the one linking 
the Adriatic to the Baltic, and the other linking the Adriatic to the 
Black Sea. All the important political relations of the empire are 
implied in this. Many of its most important historical relations are 
also suggested by it. For north and west of 15' E. and 45° N. 
was the " Land of the Cross," while south and east of it was 
the " Land of the Crescent," so that it afforded routes alike for 
Crusaders moving towards Asia and for Asiatic hordes and Ottoman 
armies moving into Central Europe. West of 15° E. is still 
typically European, in its manufacturing industries, its Teutonic 
civilisation, its adhesion to the Roman Church, while east of 15° E. 
is still somewhat Asiatic, a land of raw materials, of predominantly 
Slav interests, and of adhesion to the Greek Church. But, as the 
whole area touches more foreign lands than any other Power in 
Europe, internal differences have been to some extent mitigated by 
one bond of union — hatred or fear of outside Powers, of Asiatics up 
to the eighteenth century and of Europeans since then. 
Frontier: The actual frontier is far from satisfactory, its underlying 

Physical, principles being often contradictory in different parts. In the 
Bohemian Forest, the Erz, and the Riesen ranges, it is practically an 
elevated water-parting — with strategic conditions less favourable on 
the Austrian than on the non-Austrian side ; but except on the 
Bohemian Forest, population rises to such an elevation (cf. p. 314) 
that the frontier can scarcely be said to cause minimum disturbance 
of natural associations. Between the Adda and the Adige, as 
between the Upper Aluta and the Bistritza-Sereth, it is an elevated 
and very sparsely peopled water-parting that is not unfavourable 
to Austria or Hungary, while between the Tagliamento and 
the Drave it is an elevated and unpeopled water-parting that is 
distinctly favourable to Austria. But a large proportion of the 
frontier is marked by rivers ; and, except in places where population 
is densest, i.e. north of Aussig and south of Trent (cf. the Upper 


CH. XXI Austria-Hungary 339 

Eger valley), the chief rivers are not crossed directly. Thus, the 
frontier crosses the Inn and the Danube in the west, the Oder and 
the Vistula in the north, the Dniester and the Sereth in the east, 
the Drina and the Danube in the south ; but in each case it runs 
along the river before or after crossing it. Again, it runs along the 
Salzach instead of along the line of minimum population to the 
west of the river, along the Oppa instead of along the crest of the 
Gesenke ; and it adopts, instead of avoiding, stray bits of minor 
rivers, e.g. the San and the Bug, the Zbrucz and the Pruth. Only 
towards Rumania does it follow a line of minimum population, 
crossing the only main artery, the Aluta, directly ; and only on the 
Vistula is there any obvious excuse. There, between the Austro- 
Prussian and Austro - Russian reaches, the Austrian frontier is 
projected across the river as a foreground to the great fortress of 
Cracow, itself on the north bank as the old capital of Poland ; and 
the dense population of Silesia has practically come into existence 
since the frontier was drawn. Cf. p. 251. 

The apparent reasons for this primitive type of frontier are Frontier: 
partly the somewhat primitive condition of the area, as a typical Strategic, 
piece of Oriental Europe, and partly the fact that inside the 
unsatisfactory Imperial frontier is the admirable Hungarian frontier 
of the Carpathians. This is, indeed, crossed by half a dozen lines 
of rail, leading to the various centres outside the ring, e.g. Cracow 
and Tarnow, Przemysl and Lemberg, Stanislau, and Czernovitz ; 
but the practical impossibility of Russia violating the neutrality (?) 
of Prussian territory, and the actual impossibility of transporting 
a large army across the Carpathians, make Cracow the key to the 
whole frontier. And, as on the eastern frontier of Prussia, there 
are lines of rail running " parallel " with the frontier and related to 
the Vistula. In this case the outer line is part of the through-route 
from Odessa to Breslau via Lemberg and Przemysl, Tarnow and 
Cracow, while the inner more or less skirts the Carpathians, tapping 
the various lines which cross them, and which are all connected on 
the inside of the barrier by a third line running from the Upper 
Theiss to the Jablunka Pass. Two lines from Russia tap the 
Moravian Gate, but neither runs via Cracow, and only one of them 
(from Warsaw) is double -tracked and standard gauge, while the 
Vistula throughout the 100 odd miles of its frontier course is 
unbridged. Approach on Cracow from the east would be equally 
difficult, for — though neither Lemberg nor Przemysl is fortified in 
the same way as Cracow — there is a great area of swamp in the 
Bug basin, and the chief rivers, e.g. Bug and Sereth, San and 
Zlota Lipa, offer an almost continuous obstacle from north to south. 

The detached provinces which involve all this length of artificial Detached 
frontier, are all Austrian ; and their political influence on Austria '^^"'^"^ces. 
has been consequently adverse. For it was essential that outlying 

340 The Continent of Europe ch. 

centres should be strong — strategically strong against attack in war, 
and politically strong against foreign influence in time of peace ; and 
the decentralisation necessary for this has accentuated the internal 
difficulties of the kingdom — many of them focused at the typical 
" fortress-universities " of the outlying areas, e.g. Innsbruck and 
Prague, Cracow and Czernovitz, Kolozsvar and Agram. 
Sea-coast, The sea-frontier is a deceptive one. Its actual length, in detail, 
is nearly one-fifth of the whole frontier ; and the maritime progress 
of the empire has been considerable in recent years, the commercial 
marine having increased by 50 p.c. (100 vessels) since 1901, with 
an increased tonnage of nearly 100 p.c. (180,000 tons). But an 
enormous proportion of the coast and most of the natural harbours are 
in Dalmatia, which is one of the poorest and least accessible areas 
of Europe, so that even a magnificent harbour like that of Cattaro 
is of little use ; and, on the other hand, at the points nearest to the 
internal centres of population the coast is not only curiously 
deficient in natural harbours, but is also troubled by a barren and 
riverless hinterland, across which access inland is difficult and 
expensive. Of course, to a " land " empire even ports like Trieste 
and Fiume are indispensable; and the annexation of Bosnia and 
the Herzegovina opens some prospects for Spalato and Ragusa ; but 
climatic difficulties and Slav speech are great drawbacks. 
Trieste Trieste has one great advantage in being the natural terminus of 

^^ the most easterly Alpine railway ; but, as a port, it has only a 

narrow foothold on a strip of lowland below a steep scarp. Here, 
it is between the strong southerly gales from the Adriatic Low- 
Pressure centre (cf. p. 55) and the stormy Bora,^ which at times 
makes the harbour inaccessible even for large steamers. In spite 
of fairly good railway facilities, therefore, traffic from the interior 
tends to gravitate down the Elbe or down the Danube ; and only 
the most determined support from Vienna, especially in providing 
direct railway communication with Central Europe via Salzburg, has 
enabled Trieste to become an important centre of American trade. 
Even this it has to share with Fiume, which has been similarly sup- 
ported from Budapest ; indeed, Fiume (" River ") is almost entirely 
an artificial creation — where the "little river," Fiumare, enters the 
stormy Quarnero Gulf from the last ridge of the Croatian " karst," the 
one with a typical fishing industry (sardine and tunny) and the other 
with an equally typical Pilgrims' Church, hung with thank-offerings 
from rescued mariners and approached by a " ladder " of 400 steps. 
The North The future of the mercantile marine depends largely, however, 
^p^i*"*' *^" ^^^ firmness with which the government insists on Trieste getting 
a fair share of Central European traffic as against the mere 4 p.c. 
allotted to it by rival German interests. The " Tauern and Kara- 
wanken " access to Innsbruck, besides attracting many tourists, 
1 The Bora is a cause of great danger, even to foot-passengers, in Trieste. 

" Pool" 

XXI Austria-Hungary 341 

provides Trieste with facilities which have been negatived only by 
an extraordinary manipulation of rates on the German State Rail- 
ways to North Sea ports. This has included persistent encourage- 
ment of emigration from Austria, which has been carried to such 
an extent that the deficiency of labour, especially agricultural, has 
greatly raised the cost of living. As similar emigration is fiercely 
discountenanced in Germany itself, and as the interests of Trieste 
have been entirely ignored, the government has recently granted a 
■ concession to the Canadian Pacific Railway for a new service between 
Trieste and Canada, the Company undertaking (i) to use all its organ- 
isation in America to keep the government in touch with Austrians 
who have emigrated, and (2) not to encourage any further emigra- 
tion. If this arrangement is maintained, in the teeth of the German 
bureaucratic machine, it may revolutionise the traffic of south-eastern 
and east-central Europe — greatly to the advantage of Trieste. 

Pola is marked out by site and character for a naval station, Pola and 
while its intensely unhealthy climate is adverse to the growth of a Cattaxo. 
commercial centre. It is on an almost landlocked bay, with an 
entrance less than 800 yards wide and defended by islands ; so it 
became one of the chief naval stations of the Roman Empire, and 
still has the finest remains of a Roman amphitheatre in Europe. 
Its only characteristic trade is in the glass-sand which was originally 
worked by the Venetians, who built (in the sixteenth century) the still 
surviving town walls. This inner station is supported by an outer 
station at Cattaro, the geographical conditions of which enabled it to 
maintain itself till a.d. 1420 as an independent republic. It is at the 
head of a gulf shut in on all sides by mountains — now covered with 
fortifications — and the entrance is through a succession of straits, 
varying in width from i mile on the outermost to ^ mile on the 
innermost. The latter is known as the Canal Le Catene (" The 
Chain Channel "), because the Venetians used to close it by a chain. 
However valuable this position may be for " watching " Montenegro, 
it obviously has little or no commercial possibilities. 

Spalato and Ragusa (also once an independent republic), however, Dalmatian 
have such possibilities, the one in connection with the Bay of Salona, Ports, 
which was a terminus for the old Roman roads, and the other in 
connection with the Bay of Gravosa. In both cases progress 
depends on railway facilities inland ; but Ragusa owed its greater 
safety in olden days to the very fact that the Herzegovina is largely 
barren "karst," and its railway access inland now is via Metkovit, 
i.e. the head of navigation on the Narenta. The peninsula of Zara 
and the bay of Sebenico also have obvious advantages ; but Zara 
has been overrated because of its convenience to conquerors who 
came from the north, e.g. Venetians, and neither of them has a 
valuable hinterland. The whole coast, however, has good fisheries, 
and supplies all the best sailors to the navy and the commercial 


The Continent of Europe 





marine ; and the climate and soil of the coast-lands are favourable 
to the growth of stone-fruit (cf the maraschino liqueur of Sebenico). 

The nucleus of the Austro-Hungarian area is a natural unit of 
lowland lying between Vienna and Munkacs, Budapest and Belgrade ; 
and, as the geometrical "centre " of the whole area, between Vienna 
and the old Hungarian capital of Pressburg, is the morphological 
"centre" of the lowland, it has obvious political and strategic 
advantages, while the lowland itself has obvious commercial and 
agricultural advantages. This natural unit is surrounded by a 
barrier of forested mountains, through which the passes are numerous 
enough and easy enough to encourage communication without 
seriously affecting the strategic value of the barrier (cf. the Jablunka 
and Vereczke, the Tomos and the Roteturm) ; and it was the 
distinctively Alpine portion that made the rampart which enabled 
Austria to save Europe from Asia. Unfortunately, the mountain 
area is profoundly heterogeneous, and is flanked towards Asia by 
detached lowlands which have involved serious decentralisation in 
an area specially needing centralisation. For the variety of relief, 
in the Alpine and Carpathian ranges, the Bohemian and Tran- 
sylvanian plateaus, the Dalmatian coast and the Hungarian plain, 
implies a variety of occupations and consequently a variety of 
economic, if not political, interests ; and there are also racial differ- 
ences between the most marked types, e.g. the Tyrolese highlanders, 
the Austrian foresters, the Magyar " nomads " of the plain. 

The constant warfare to which the area was condemned in 
early times, was adverse to agriculture or any other fixed occupation 
and to the accumulation of wealth ; but highlanders, foresters, and 
nomads do not naturally accumulate wealth, while they are naturally 
devoted to personal liberty. But in this case personal liberty and 
national existence were alike involved in successful resistance to the 
swarms of Asia in their expansion up the broad Danube and over 
the vast plains of its middle "basin." In later times, too, the varied 
interests — often emphasised by variety of creed — have encouraged 
healthy racial rivalry as some compensation for the political in- 
coherence ; at all events, they have helped to perpetuate old customs 
and costumes, old languages and literatures, in the attempt to 
"express racial patriotism in racial emblems." 

The great difficulty is that no one race is sufficiently strong or 
numerous to attract or dominate all the others, though the finest 
type — the Magyar — has much the most influential position. There 
is, therefore, no common language or literature, just as there is no 
common creed, and little unity of political aims. Most of the 
people are neither Austrians and adherents of the Roman Church, 
nor Hungarians and Protestants, but Slavs who are devoted to the 
Greek Church, and whose name is ignored in the title of the 
empire. The natural bond here might reasonably have been 

XXI Austria- Hungary 343 

between White race and White against Yellow, i.e. between Roman 
Church and Greek Church, Teutons and Slavs, Germans and 
Russians, against the Protestant Magyars. But the political 
tendencies are rather in favour of linking the Greek Church Slavs 
with the Protestant Magyars ; for there is no outside Magyar Power 
which either threatens or attracts, while common jealousy of the 
outside German Power is a very real bond. 

The purely Alpine area, as we have seen, presents normal Alpine 
Alpine features in the most favourable form — lower crest, easier Area, 
passes, wider valleys, so that the percentage of absolutely barren 
land is small (lo to 20 p.c), and the means of communication are 
good. Of special importance are the great longitudinal valleys by 
which the central crystalline zone is cut off from the limestone zones, 
and lines of movement radiate eastward from the Brenner — by 
Salzach and Enns, by Drave and Save. This Alpine area is separated 
by the karst saddle from the Dinaric area and by the Danube 
valley from the Sudetic area, with its enclosed Bohemian plateau ; 
and the Sudetic area is separated from the Carpathians by the 
Moravian Gate, while the Austrian provinces beyond the Gate and 
the Carpathians are more isolated externally, if more accessible 
internally, than the Austrian provinces behind the Dalmatian coast. 

Austria, therefore, is very far from homogeneous. Its straggling Austrian 
provinces make it physically less regular and compact than Hungary ; ^?^' 
and the decentralisation involved in this has drawn the German 
population to Germany and the various other elements to congenial 
neighbours, e.g. the Tyrolese to Italy by the Brenner and the 
Ruthenians to Russia by the Dniester valley, thus increasing the 
natural difficulty of governing the various isolated units. Further, 
the political and historic geography of the area has made the typical 
Austrian peculiarly exclusive and self-contained — apt not only to 
depend on himself, economically^ and otherwise, but also to fight 
for his own hand ; and, though these conditions are changing as 
agriculture becomes less and less able to support and employ the 
increasing population, surrounding peoples are not likely to be 
attracted by or to the Austrians. 

Hungary, on the other hand, is not only very markedly compact, Hungar- 
but is troubled by fewer minor races; and the Magyar, on the i^°^.Co°-- 
central Alfold, is dominant both by position and by character. The ^°^' 
large proportion of steppe, the small proportion of forest, and other 
economic factors, e.g. lack of stone, have tended to make the 
Magyar nobleman less self-sufficient than the Austrian nobleman, 
and the Magyar peasant more self-reliant than the Austrian peasant, 
so that the nation reaps the double advantage of internal unity and 
individual strength. 

* Agriculturally, he is so autarchic that a fall in "World " prices scarcely affects 
him except so far as he needs cash to pay taxes. 

344 The Continent of Europe ch. 

Tte S^T». Tbe Sfatvs of tlie north are divided firom those of the sooth by 
the Genuan-Mvgjsr bdt which stretches across the coontiy firom 
vest to east, occnp^wg the ridiest gain and nuneral areas ; and it 
seems to have been die oiigpnal Magyar settloDent that made a 
great Star empire impoeaable in the Bfiddle Danube basin. The 
two bodies of Slavs are also veaty &r firom being cohereat in them- 
selves; £«- variety of rdief and **iaoe''and rei^ion are voy serious 
bairiet^ e^, between the Slovak h^ghlandos of the Hungarian Ore 
Mountains, die Caedis of the Austrian plateau, and the Ruthenians 
of die Pdfeh plain. And, as geqgiaphic variety and varied creed 
have beoi accmtuated hf hstoric jealousies based on the variei^ of 
**noe^* there k no conodvaUe pn^nbility of sudi an evolution as a 
Fan-SfaiT North, 
■aiaaai The Slovaks are the descendants of refv^ees who rdused to 

^^''^**- accept die creed or dominion of the conqoerois in the Battle of 
White Hin (jlix 1620)^ and idio took rduge in die mountainous 
recesses of Hui^;aiy under die dominion of the Protestant Magyars. 
Here diey were safe and free ; but the conditions of safety involved 
bad communication and poverty, whidi have hem r^ected in the 
backward condition, educationally and otfaowise^ of die area. The 
typical product is a sheeps'smilk dieese made under exactly the 
same conditions as die Roqu^iart product of the Aveyron ** crater " 
pastures. The Czechs became adheroits of the Roman Church 
under the compulsion of the Thirty Yeais* War, and so remained 
on their ridi plateau — rich in fertile snl and mineial wealdi, wboe 
small hoMii^ could be suf^iorted by industrial eainii^s. With 
natmal lamparts of mountains and a small area, they have devdoped 
a sdfoontained and exdusive l^pe, suffideotly united to have proved 
a Strang obslacfe to German influences. In the stiu^^ the 
maintenance of the Caedi bi^iage and die great effisrts made to 
devdop intdlectnal supremacy, in place of the p(4itical sapamacy 
diat is foibidden, have been of prime importance. The Ruthenians 
of Eastern Galida and Bukowina are Litde Russians^ £e. pnwtjcally 
Cossacks — t^fpically brave^ devoted adherents <^ the Greek Church, 
and wiDii^ to make Russian a Fan-Slav speech ; but constant war, 
Slavic subdivision of land, and Sbivic subjection to Jewish middle- 
men, have left them as poor as they are unintdkctnaL Nor is there 
any hope for their imprafvement so kx^ as Aey can get education 
imdf in the hated Pcdish tot^;ue^ or the whole access into Austria b 
baned by the definitely Polidi population of Western Galida and 
the MocavBoi Gate^ 
SoaChwm The so ulhe iu ^avs are not <Mfy ^vided bom dieir northern 

*•■■■■ relatians by the Geiman-Magyar wed^ but also — like the northern 
Slavs — made incoherent and impotent by intmnal differences, 
political and rejjgyins. The Slovenes (or Wends) are poKticaIfy 
Amirians, and dieir natural gravitatiiMD to the Adriatic has kept them 


Austria-H ungaiy 


ja. lUc %r ler «» ftic 

Roman in creed. The Croats^ with similar gnmtatioa to the Adri- 
atic, are also Rcnnan in creed ; but pcdilicallj thejr are Hai^;ariaii&. 
The Slavcmiaps are also Hnngarian, bitt their land gravitates eastward, 
and their creed is Gredc AO diree are mainljr Servian bf race, and 
all are politically attracted to Senria ; but, so long as tfaef are con- 
tent to make "pattiotian" depend cm creed, and made the diflfer- 
ences in eveiy posnUe way, e^. by costmnev by script and "fbmit'' 
of type, etc, thoe is no conoeivaUe piobaiMlify of any Fan-Sbr 
SoatL Economical^, too^ they are foredoomed victims of the 
middlemen in virtue cxT dieir perfectly nsdess bngnages — iwriess 
that is, for Worid markets. The one great difietence is that, wbSc 
Austria has — since 1866 — forced her Slav subjects to m a intain tfaeir 
own Slovene speech, Hui^;aiy guaranteed theiis to die Croats and 
Slavonians, thus condemning them to a useless eocmomic medium and 
sacrifidi^ the opportnnitjr for consolidating the Hungarian trinfldom 
which would have been given by the spread of the Magyar fanguage. 
The climate varies greatfy in d iflfe ren t parts of the empire^ the 
greatest oontiasts beii^ between die "Meditenanean" phenomena 
(jiihe Adriatic roastlands and the "continental" phenomena of the 
eastern and north-eastern lowlands. The mountains aoe not h%jh 
enough to exclude ccid winds ficom 
Russia; the distance 60m the sea or 
the intervening h^land prevents any 
part except in the Adriatic horn having 
a heavy rain&ll; and the total area 
(240,000 square miles) is oonsidetable. 
On the Adriatic the dimate is mild 
and equable, Fiume havii^ an aveia^ 
rain£dl of 70 inches, with temperature 
langii:^ from 44° F. to 73" F. ; and, as 
the rainfidl is practically confined to 
winter, fruit -growing is greatty en- 
couraged, even tropical fruits ripenmg 
out oi doors in Southern Dalmatia. ^^ 
In the continental area the lainlEdl 
is practically confined to the summer, die 

in off the Black Sea to a low^xessure centre . „ : ^ 

of Hui^^ry; and it varies ftran 20 inches on the drie: 
the lowland to 40 inches on the Carpathians, Boda{>e 
just over 24 indies and Debreczin just under 23. The 
temperature averages from 29° F. to 70° F., but even at V 
actoal extremes lai^ie from z" F. to 94° F. The diyne 
winds over the sandy plains is main^ responsible for the : 
evaporation of lakes — not only the '* White Lakes* of t; 
whidi leave their beds encrusted with ** sal^" but even the N 
See, whidi is occasionally completdy dry. 




The Continent of Europe 



Frontier. In spite of nearly lOO miles of coast on the Adriatic, Hungary 

is essentially a continental area, and its land-frontiers are largely so 
obvious as to be called " natural " — a great proportion of the southern 
frontier being marked by rivers, Unna, Save, Danube, and almost 
the v^rhole of the northern and the eastern frontiers being marked by 
the crest of the Carpathians.^ In the west it is not quite so satis- 
factory ; but in the most important direction use is made of the 
March (instead of the Little Carpathians) and the Leitha, and south 
of the Leitha it corresponds roughly to the foothills of the Alps. 

Nucleus. The great lowland which forms the nucleus of the kingdom, is 
divided into two very unequal parts — the Little Alfold or Pressburg 
basin (6000 square miles = Yorkshire) and the Great Alfold or Pest 
basin, which is half a dozen times the size of the other; and, in spite 
of areas of barren sand, e.g. between the Danube and the Theiss, 
the proportion of rich soil is very large, while the average elevation 
does not exceed 350 feet. The arrangement of the higher land 
round this nucleus enables us to divide it into 3 areas — (i) the 
great encircling highland of the Carpathians from Deveny to Orsova, 
(2) an Alpine outlier, rising in the Bakony Forest to over 2300 feet, 
in the Mecsek to over 2200, and in the Bergland to over 3000, 
and (3) a karst region in Croatia. 
Bivers. The relation of the river-system to this arrangement is obvious, 
running water being as abundant in the north and east as it is 
deficient — except in the main arteries — in the south-west. These 
arteries, again, have an obvious parallelism, e.g. the Danube below 
the west end of the Matra with the Theiss below the east end of it, 
the Drave on one side of the Croatio-Slavonian Bergland with the 
Save on the other side, the Waag and the Gran on opposite sides 
of the Neutra range, the Toplya and the Hernad on opposite sides 
of the Hegyallya, the Eipel and the Sajo on opposite sides of the 
Matra, the Waag and the Hernad on opposite sides of — and giving 
wonderfully easy access round — the whole " Ore " group. Again, 
there is a double convergence of rivers on the central meridian of the 
kingdom, all the drainage from the Tatra area converging in front of 
the Matra, while all this converges, with the Alpine and Transylvanian 
drainage, on the west of the Banat. Though some of the Transyl- 
vanian feeders, e.g. the Aluta, do not reach the main river through 
Hungary, practically all the drainage is Danubian, so that the 
Danube is the only river-link with foreign countries ; and its system 
(9000 miles) gives such excellent links internally that canals ^ are 

^ Even above the easy Jablunka Pass the West Beskids rise to well over 4000 feet. 
On the other hand, the river frontier is mainly inside the Imperial frontier. 

^ The chief canal, the Franz Josef, from the Danulx: below Mohacs to the 
Theiss, is only 70 miles long ; and the Bega, from Temesvar to the Theiss, is less. 




few, and those few are largely to drain marshy areas or relieve the 
rivers during floods. 

The total length of navigable waterways is considerably over 3000 Naviga- 
miles, of which five-sixths is navigable by steamers — a much larger *i°^- 
proportion than in Austria. One peculiar feature is due partly to the 
institution of " zone " traffic on the railways, and partly to the relief 
of the area. With four exceptions — on the part of the March that 
forms the Hungarian frontier, on the Drave and Mur above Bares 

Stanford's Geoy! £stab*, Londwit 

Austria- Hungary : Density of Population. 

Less than 100 per sq. mile 
100 to 200 ,, 

200 to 300 ,, 

300 to 400 1^1 

More than 400 per sq. mile, Vienna and district. 

or Zakany, on the Save above Sissek, and on the Koros above 
Gyoma — there is almost immediate transition from steamer-traffic to 
nothing except rafts. Thus, the Theiss is navigable by rafts, but by 
rafts only, from Tisza-Ujlak (Szathmar Nemeti on the Szamos) to 
Tisza-Fiired, the head of steamer navigation ; and Maros-Ujvar and 
Arad have much the same relations on the Maros. This drop in 
the level marks the line of weakness where the lowland was abruptly 
fractured, and detached from its rim ; and it accounts for the hot- 
springs of the Blocksberg at Buda and for the volcanic vineyards of 
Tokay. Cf. p. 351. 


The Continent of Europe 





The total population (20,000,000), does not really represent the 
capacity of the kingdom, which is very fertile and exceedingly rich 
in mineral wealth. Historically, Turkish invasions, civil wars, and 
" Asiatic " plagues, were very adverse to prosperity and to density of 
population ; and in modern times the spread of Magyar influences 
in the Slav areas has led to heavy emigration. However question- 
able the methods used to spread that influence, the fact of it was 
based on the exclusive occupation by the Magyars of what was at 
once the central and the most fertile part of the kingdom ; and the 
resentment against it was similarly based on the concentration of 
each minor race in a compact and relatively large group, fully con- 
scious — in speech, costume, creed, etc. — of its own racial personality. 
Only in the Banat, the great focus of the waterways of the kingdom 
and the part of the kingdom latest freed from the Turks, is the 
population not segregated in ethnic groups, but thoroughly blended 
into a unit of which the items can scarcely be differentiated. 

The Magyars number more than half the total population, and 
are increasing, while every other race except the Rumanian is 
decreasing, and not one of them numbers one-sixth of the total. 
In the case of the Germans, who are mainly in the towns and 
seldom in concentration, the cause is largely absorption in the 
Magyar population ; but in the case of the others, it is largely 
emigration — either to America or to kindred neighbours, e.g. 
Rumanians into Rumania and Croats into Servia. Of these minor 
races the Rumanians are the most numerous, and the Jews are 
the most important, monopolising a large share of the trade and 
industry of the kingdom, controlling finance and politics, and 
becoming more and more the owners of the land. They, too, 
however, like the Germans, are apt to become nominally — as 
converts to Christianity — absorbed in the Magyar population. 

Hungary is essentially an agricultural country, considerably over 
40 p.c. of the area in Hungary proper being under tillage, especially 
for wheat and maize, and nearly 70 p.c. of the population finding 
occupation on the land ; and extraordinary progress has been made 
in scientific farming, arable and pastoral. The wide stretches of 
pussta offer special facilities for rearing cattle and horses, while the 
huge production of maize and the extent of oak and other forests 
(over 25 p.c. of the area) are very favourable to the rearing of pigs 
and poultry. With the spread of intensive agriculture, sheep- 
farming is becoming less and less important, though wool is still 
exported ; but both pasturage and forest areas are increasing in the 
hilly areas. This does not imply any reduction in the arable area, 
for there is full appreciation of the need for tillage to supply stock- 
food (maize, beet, lucerne), to counteract drought, and to expose 
the deep rich loam to the beneficial action of frost. Nor is 
cultivation in any way restricted to grain. There are at least two 

XXI Hungary 349 

dozen distinct crops of economic importance ; and the Ministry of 
Agriculture is justifiably regarded as one of the chief Government 
departments. Amongst the typical products are wine and tobacco, 
the finer wines coming from the more northerly latitudes, e.g. Tokay 
and the Sopron district of the Hanvag (round the Neusiedler See). 

The mineral wealth, though great, is as yet little worked. It Minerals. 
includes large quantities of fuel (coal, lignite, oil, and gas) and of 
iron-ore. The coal is in the Banat and at Pecs, the lignite in the 
Bakony near Budapest and in the Kords and the Szamos basins 
(cf. Zalatna and Nagy-Banya), while oil and gas are in the same 
area {e.g. near Klausenburg and Meramaros Sziget). The iron-ore 
is most abundant in the Gomor and Szepes sections of the Ore 
Mountains, round the head-waters of the Gran and the Hernad, 
e.g. in the Vashegz ("Iron Mountain"); but very large quantities 
also exist in Transylvania, especially in the Krasso Szorony and 
Hunyadi hills. Gold and silver are still raised, e.g. at Kreranitz 
and Schemnitz, at Nagy-Banya and Zalatna ; but, especially in the 
northern area, they are relatively much less important than they 
used to be. On the other hand, salt is increasing in importance, 
especially in the Szamos and Maros basins. The kingdom contains, 
at Vorosvagas, the chief opal mines in Europe ; and there are 
famous mineral springs, especially in the valley of the Waag. 

With the exception of iron, all the chief industries are more or Industries 
less " agricultural," e.g. flour-milling, brewing and distilling, tobacco- ^^ 
curing, sugar-making, while the most typical iron products are 
agricultural implements and machinery. And, under the circum- 
stances, urban centres are few and far between. The real " towns " 
are mostly of German origin, for " the Magyars founded the State, 
but the Germans built the towns " ; and this accounts for the large 
proportion of towns with the affix Nemet ("German") or Szasz 
("Saxon"). The largest centres are, however, Hungarian, and 
are simply enormous villages, in which the isolated farms are dotted 
along a bush-road or round a Steppe fair-ground. For instance, 
Debreczin does not number a population of 100,000, and Szegedin 
only just reaches that limit; but both have an area of c. 350 square 
miles, i.e. the size of Huntingdonshire. The position of such towns 
is equally typical. The most important, Szegedin, stands at the 
confluence of the Theiss and its chief tributary, the Maros ; and 
two other important places. Hod Mezo Viisarhely and Tokay are 
also on the Theiss, Tokay at another important confluence. All 
the others are at the limit of the Theiss lowland, — the western ones, 
Szabadka (Maria Theresiopel) and Kecskemet, on the western limit, 
where naturally there are no rivers, and the eastern ones, e.g. Arad 
and Temesvar, Bek^s and Grosswardein (Nagyvarad), where rivers 
drop from the 350-foot level on to the lowland. The level of the 
various towns rises slightly from south to north, Arad being slightly 

350 The Continent of Europe ch. 

higher {c. 30 feet) than Temesvar, and Grosswardein than Arad, 
while Debreczin, the largest of them {c. 80,000), though not on 
a river, is slightly higher than Grosswardein. 
Sand- Most of these are subject to either floods or sandstorms. The 

storms sand is, of course, naturally worst away from the great rivers, e.g. 
^^ j^ mid- way between the parallel Theiss and Danube, north-west of 
Szegedin, t.e. half-way between Kecskemet and Szabadka, and 
north-east of Debreczin ; but persistent efforts, e.g. in planting 
acacia, etc., have checked the movement of the sand, and enabled 
agriculture to be firmly established (cf. the Debreczin vineyards). 
The floods are also being mastered, but very slowly. The great 
difficulty is the very small fall of the Theiss after it reaches the 
lowland, e.g. 1 foot in 10 miles south of Szegedin. Though the 
Theiss basin is fed essentially from forested sandstone, it is flooded 
by melting snow, like the Danube ; and the increased pace of the 
latter, due to its greater fall, is emphasised by greater volume, with 
the result that heavy flood on the Danube blocks back the Theiss. 
This accounts for the entire absence of important towns on the 
Lower Theiss. Indeed except for Zenta, with its "accidental" 
historic importance, there is no place of any importance below 
Szegedin, which — at the Maros confluence, not much more than 
250 feet above sea-level — has been practically swept away time 
after time. Since the last great catastrophe, in 1879, however, its 
dykes have been materially strengthened. 

The other Hungarian centres are little transport centres, such 
as Miskolcz and Kaschau or Mohacs, on the great western bend of 
the lower Danube, — modern or ancient mining centres, such as 
Pecs (Funfkirchen and Schemnitz), — strategic centres, such as 
Neusatz and Semlin, Orsova and Komorn, all closely related to the 
Danube ; and the Danube is also the key to the old and present 
capitals of Pressburg and Budapest. 
Press- Pressburg combines almost all these conditions. The Danube, 

burg, cutting into its right bank under the influence of the earth's rotation, 
as it leaves the Theben gorge, makes Pressburg a frontier fortress, 
upon a low platform (250-300 feet) to the east of the gorge and 
the north of the river, where it thus controlled communication 
into the old mining area of the Waag valley. Eastward, instead 
of a gorge, there is the sudden expansion of the river round the Schiitt 
islands, which ofiers maximum obstacle to crossing until the main 
stream collects the Raab and Waag drainage at Komorn. From 
the time that the Magyars accepted Christianity, and became at 
once a " bastion of Latin Christianity against Oriental barbarism " 
and a wedge to split the Slavs in two, the inevitable community of 
interest between German and Magyar in opposition to the Slavs 
favoured the concentration of Magyar influence on the old Roman 
site of Posonium, in touch with the old civilisation and the new 

XXI Hungary 351 

religious focus. The fertile Little Alfold made this also a great 
market for grain and wine, as now for tobacco ; and it became 
the terminus of the first railway in Hungary (up the Waag valley). 

To reach the still more fertile Great Alfold the Danube has Buda- 
to cut through the linking uplift between the Bakony and the ^^^^ 
Matra by the Waitzen gorge ; and in the days before their con- 
version to Christianity the Magyars found a more appropriate 
and safer capital at the eastern end of the Little Alfold, on the 
precipitous rock of Gran, commanding the Gran valley northward 
and the land passage southward round the "Ofen" highland to 
Buda. But the ultimate capital was bound to be on the Great 
Alfold ; and undoubtedly the best place was where hard rock on 
each side of the river and an island in the channel offered special 
facilities for bridging the river before it deploys in its full natural 
width on to the plain. This, too, was the natural objective of 
traffic from the south-west along the Balaton Lake ; and it was 
here that the old Roman road reached the Danube. On the 
" Roman " bank there are several steep hills from which hot springs 
flow — minimising ice in winter; and the Romans chose the site 
for their great camp of Aquincum {J Aquae Quinque)^ which 
has grown into Buda (" Oven "). Here, too, was the natural 
meeting - place of the agricultural and pastoral industries, the 
mining and forestry, along with abundance of good stone for 
building purposes. The one drawback was that the town could 
only spread on the " Roman " bank by leaving the hills to which 
it owed its essential character; but on the opposite bank there 
was unlimited room for expansion over the flat sandy plain and 
a fine frontage on to the broad river (averaging 500 yards). 

Pest ("Stove"), therefore, is essentially the commercial and 
industrial centre, while the official centre is cramped amongst 
the Buda hills, of which the Blocksberg (770 feet) rises 400 feet 
above the river-level. Obviously, too, the population of Buda 
remains more or less stationary, while that of Pest has grown 
enormously (1000 p.c. in the nineteenth century). The population 
is typically heterogeneous, but absolutely permeated by Magyar 
influence, energy, and national ideals — illustrated by the entire aboli- 
tion of German names from streets and buildings ; and, thanks mainly 
to the patriotic co-operation of the exceedingly important Hebrew 
element (fully 20 p.c), the Magyars have made the city the one 
great centre, intellectual and economic, of the kingdom. It is the 
seat of all the typical industries — milling, brewing and distilling, 
leather, agricultural machinery, etc., with a special export of 
mineral waters, e.g. Hunyadi-Janos and Apenta ; and the zone 
traffic on the railways has so facilitated access from the farthest 

^ Celtic scholars consider it a transformation from the former Celtic name of 
Ak-ink (" Rich Waters ") ; but the Roman camp certainly had "five springs." 

352 The Continent of Europe CH. 

corners of the kingdom that it even attracts trade from beyond the 
political frontier. It possesses the only university in Hungary proper, 
and is to the kingdom what Paris used to be to France ; and the 
fact is not forgotten that for some 400 years the old Magyar Diets 
were held on the Rakos camp just on the north of the city. 
Transyl- Transylvania ("Beyond the Forest"), as its Latin name 

vania: implies, is separated from Hungary proper by a belt ot forest; but, 
PhysicaL ^^ j^^ Magyar name {Erdely, "Forest-land") implies, it is itself 
heavily forested, nearly 40 p.c. of the area being forested. It is 
a circular plateau basin, with relatively easy access into Hungary 
by the Szamos and the Maros valleys, but made into a natural 
fortress {Stebenburgen, "The Seven Strong Towns") by the lofty 
Carpathians and the Transylvanian Alps. In the dry climate 
within these mountain walls the rivers have cut wonderful ravines 
and canons, the most remarkable being that by which the Aluta 
works its way out in the Roteturm Pass. In each of the great 
valleys there is a fertile plain ; and, though the amount of arable 
land is small, there are magnificent pastures, on which excellent 
cattle and horses are reared. Flax and fruit are typical products. 
The main artery of the country is the valley of the Maros, which bears 
much the same relation to the Aluta, as the Waag bears to the Hernad 
in the Ore Mountains ; and it was a Roman thoroughfare to the salt 
mines of Torda (once Salinae) via Gyula-Fehervar (" White Castle of 
Julius "), now famous for its magnificent vineyards (Karlsburg). The 
connection northward into the Szamos valley is short (30 miles) 
and easy, and another Roman colony stood where the Szamos valley 
was tapped, i.e. at Kolozsvar (Klausenburg). The connection 
southward into the Aluta basin was shortest and easiest via Nagy- 
Szeben (Hermanstadt), which was said to be the capital of the Seven 
Strong Towns ; and a legacy of its old importance, or a proof of the 
fertility of the Zibin valley (to the Aluta), is seen in its possession 
of the Transylvanian university. The natural continuation southward 
of the Upper Aluta valley had its objective at Brasso (Kronstadt), 
as the natural continuation northward of the Upper Ysil had its 
objective at Hatszeg ; and both routes are now followed by railways. 
But neither pass could compete with the Aluta gorge, and east-and- 
west traffic went by the Maros (cf, the railway centres of Broos and 
Maros Vasarhely ("Maros Market"), not by the Aluta — where 
even Fogaras has only recently had rail connection. 
Transyl- Transylvania, with its five nations, its five languages